Veterans group launches effort to restore POW/MIA flags to prominence on Capitol Hill

Image 1 of 2

A national veterans group says the flag honoring prisoners of war and those missing in action has disappeared from some congressional offices.

AMVETS, a group advocating for veterans for more than 75 years, is working to change that.

"There used to be one on every office, they all had POW/MIA flags," said Rege Riley, National Commander for AMVETS. "Over the past several years it's gotten less and less."

Every member of Congress gets three flag stands outside their office and can choose what to display.

"We had our advocates take a look and take inventory, and we found about 40 percent of the members of Congress no longer have this flag up," said Joe Chenelly, AMVETS National Executive Director.

He says this is part of a bigger issue when it comes to the 82,000 service members who never made it home and the decades that continue to go by.

"As a nation, I think our population is really starting to forget," Chenelly said.

AMVETS leaders are doing whatever it takes to prevent that, including hand delivering flags.

FOX 5 was there as they gave one to Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a freshman Congressman who's also a former U.S. Navy Seal.

"I've had an empty spot for it this whole time," Crenshaw said after receiving the flag. "As you can tell from the office, we haven't been able decorate or get things on the wall."

Crenshaw says it's been slow getting his office in order. He didn't waste time getting the new flag in place.

AMVETS has made other efforts as well, contacting individual lawmakers and writing a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi last month. It's paid off.

"We're encouraged by seeing an increase in the number of offices that have the flag now," said Chenelly. "Since the letter went out, since the Speaker recognized it, and honestly, since they knew you were coming as well."

He says while he's seeing a lot more POW/MIA flags than a month ago, the goal is for every office to display the flag.

"Until that happens we're going to continue to be up here on Capitol Hill," he said.