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Monday, March 19 2018 @ 06:31 AM AKDT

Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day

Military and VeteransWHEREAS, Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day has been established by the Alaska State Legislature on April 9 of each year to recognize and honor all former prisoners of war (POWs) from our nation’s wars who have returned home, and to commemorate the date of April 9, 1942, in which the largest number of Americans were captured during World War II’s Conquest of Bataan; and

WHEREAS, in 1971, while the Vietnam War still being fought, Grahme Wilkin, the wife of a service member missing in action (MIA) and member of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, recognized the need for a symbol of our prisoners of war and those missing in action; and

WHEREAS, the first official commemoration honoring America’s prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action (MIA) from our nation’s wars, was on July 18, 1979; and

WHEREAS, in 1990, the POW/MIA flag was declared by Congress as “the symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, and missing and unaccounted for.” The flag’s sobering message, “You are Not Forgotten,” reminds Americans to never forget the true cost of freedom; and

WHEREAS, POWs repeatedly demonstrated their devotion to duty, honor; and country, despite enduring captivity and sometimes brutal treatment by their captors; defending the freedom of others at the expense of their own; and

WHEREAS; today, we join together to pay tribute to all American POWs for their unbreakable spirit, and heroism in the line of duty.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Walker, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim April 9, 2016 as:

Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day

in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to honor, support, and remember those who were prisoners of war, those presently missing in action, and their families, and I direct that all State agencies in possession of a POW/MIA flag shall fly their POW/MIA flag on April 9, 2016.

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