Senators to ask Biden to restore POW-MIA flag to White House after Trump departure

A POW-MIA flag flies at graveside during a full honors burial service for seven U.S. Vietnam era military members at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia March 21, 2014. All seven members were buried in one grave.

Several lawmakers plan to urge President Joe Biden on Friday to restore a flag honoring missing war veterans to the White House, according to a copy of a letter seen by Reuters, after former President Donald Trump angered some veterans by moving it.

The POW-MIA flag, which is dedicated to prisoners of war and servicemembers missing in action, was relocated last year from a prominent position atop the White House to a less visible spot on the South Lawn.

The move came months after Trump signed into law a bill requiring the flag to be flown at certain federal properties including the White House every day.

“We ask that you take swift action to restore the flag to its place of honor atop the White House, thereby prominently recognizing the service and sacrifices of American prisoners of war, missing service members, and their families,” wrote Democratic Senators Maggie Hassan and Elizabeth Warren and Republican Tom Cotton, who co-sponsored the legislation.

“This issue is critically important to veterans and other Americans who care deeply about the POW/MIA flag as a sign that we will never forget about the thousands of American service members who are still far from home against their will,” the senators said, in a letter they plan to send on Friday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Biden, who took office on Wednesday, has often extolled his deceased son Beau’s military service in Iraq.

The black and white POW-MIA flag, which reads: “You are not forgotten,” depicts a man beneath a guard tower gazing down at a barbed-wire fence. About 82,000 U.S. servicemembers are still missing from conflicts dating back to World War Two.

U.S. law requires the flag to be displayed in a “manner designed to ensure visibility to the public.” In its current position, it can be viewed from limited vantage points outside the White House complex. The Trump White House declined to explain why the flag was relocated but said last year it was done in a private ceremony with full military honors.

Hassan and Warren previously described the move as disrespectful and potentially illegal, while some veterans groups criticized it, including The American Ex-Prisoners of War, which described it as a “slap in the face.”

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