Each year, the third Friday in September is set aside to honor the commitment and the sacrifices made by this nation's Prisoners of War and those who are still Missing in Action, as well as their families.
Pursuant to 2001 Wisconsin Act 100, the State of Wisconsin has declared that the third Friday of September should be annually designated as POW/MIA Recognition Day in Wisconsin.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day legislation was introduced yearly, until 1995, when it was deemed by Congress that legislation designating special commemorative days would no longer be considered by Congress. The President now signs a proclamation each year.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of the six days specified by federal law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations.
Of the 125,214 Americans surviving captivity, about 29,350 were estimated to be alive as of the end of 2005. Records show that 142,246 Americans were captured and interned during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Somalia and Kosovo conflicts, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
More than 78,000 Americans are unaccounted for from WWII, more than 8,100 American servicemen from the Korean War, and at the end of the Vietnam War, there reportedly were 2,583 unaccounted for American prisoners, missing or killed in action/body not recovered.
As of September 1, 2006, 1,798 Americans are still so listed by the Defense Department, over 90% of them in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia where Vietnamese forces operated during the war. One hundred twenty-six Americans are still listed as missing in action and unaccounted-for from the Cold War.