By the President of the United States of America
Since the earliest days of our Nation, America's men and women have answered the call to duty. In each of our country's conflicts, our prisoners of war have endured extreme hardships and have been required to make great sacrifices. But even when facing the most extreme adversity, they have proudly defended American ideals. Their burden has been magnified when they were subject to mistreatment, torture, or death in violation of fundamental moral standards and international codes of conduct.
Our country is also acutely aware of the deep suffering experienced by the families of our servicemen held captive or missing in action. These families have faced a haunting uncertainty and awesome silence that tear at their hearts and earns the deep esteem of their countrymen.
American P.O.W.'s and M.I.A.'s are heroes who have gone beyond courage and beyond duty to an honored place in the souls of their fellow Americans. They symbolize the kind of singular sacrifice and devotion that has repeatedly proven instrumental in shaping our Nation's destiny. This country will never forget nor fail to honor those who have so courageously garnered our highest regard.
By Joint Resolution, the Congress has designated April 9, 1983, as National P.O.W.M.I.A. Recognition Day. On this day, I firmly believe that we should recognize the special debt all Americans owe to our fellow citizens who gave up their freedom in the service of our country and to the families who have undergone a great travail.
We shall continue to remember our missing servicemen. Our Nation must never forget them. Resolution of their fate is, and will remain, a matter of the highest national priority. On April 9, 1983, a P.O.W.-M.I.A. Flag will fly over the White House, the Departments of State and Defense, and the Veterans Administration as a symbol of our unswerving commitment to resolving the fate of all servicemen still missing.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Saturday, April 9, 1983, as National P.O.W.-M.I.A. Recognition Day, a day dedicated to all former American prisoners of war, to those still missing, and to their families. I call on all Americans to join in honoring those who have been held captive in war and their loved ones.
I call upon State and local officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 14th day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventh.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:57 a. m., March 15, 1983]