National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day on April 9 honors the courageous men and women who have endured brutal treatment at the hands of their captors, separation from family and displayed incredible endurance and faith during their captivity.
On this day in 1942, the largest number of U.S. Forces were captured by Japanese troops in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. After battling through extreme conditions and prolonged battles, the captured troops were forced to march 65 miles to the prison camp. Without medical attention, food or water thousands died. The mistreatment continued for those who survived the brutal journey. In the compounds, deep in the unfamiliar jungle, the hardships, brutality, and suffering lasted more than two years for those who could survive.
Many POWs endure conditions much like this. These heroes deserve a day of recognition. An annual presidential proclamation is signed for National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day and government officials, veterans, civic and private organizations observe the day with ceremonies and events. Some states require the POW/MIA flag to be flown in this day.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Honor former POWs by helping to organize events. Ensure your organization flies the POW/MIA flag. Use #FormerPOWRecognitionDay to share on social media.
President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed National Prisoner of War Recognition Day in 1987