POWs and MIAs are one of the most sensitive aspects of the Vietnam War. A story from time.com titled: What You Need to Know About the History of America’s Prisoners of War submitted by Ashley Ross addresses the subject of POWs and MIAs as related to the Vietnam War. According to Dr. Robert Doyle, a professor of history at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and author of multiple books about POWs, including The Enemy in Our Hands: Americaʼs Treatment of Prisoners of War from the Revolution to the War on Terror Vietnam changed how Americans view POWs. As Doyle explains it, the lack of unanimous support for the war meant that POWs—in contrast to soldiers who were fighting—were broadly accepted as heroes.
Official recognition of POWs and MIAs began in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed POW/MIA Recognition Day. Following this every president since then has continued the practice by signing an annual proclamation for the commemoration. In 1997 President Bill Clinton made it official when he signed into law the National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The law requires that POW/MIA Flags be flown on the third Friday in September of each year as well as on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. Furthermore the law specifies the POW/MIA Flags be flown on those days at the following locations: the White House, all post offices, major military installations, national cemeteries, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs and the director of the selective service system.
So apparently Vietnam Veterans have participated in a war that changed attitudes toward POWs and MIAs. Something else to add to the history books.
You are encouraged to take a look at Dr. Robert Doyle’s eye opening book The Enemy in Our Hands: Americaʼs Treatment of Prisoners of War from the Revolution to the War on Terror.