Town officials bring patriotic addition to public view for first time last Thursday
By Greg Ellison
(Nov. 18, 2021) Members of American Legion Posts #123 and #231 joined Town of Berlin officials to hoist a newly acquired POW/MIA flag during a sunrise ceremony on Veterans Day.
Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said Mayor Zach Tyndall organized the affair at the Veterans Monument on the corner of Main and West Streets to commemorate Berlin’s latest patriotic addition.
“The mayor and I had a conversation about flying the POW/ MIA flag,” he said. “We agreed that Veterans Day would be the appropriate day to commemorate that as far as the town flying the flags.”
Larry Duffy, with American Legion Post Duncan Showell #231, said fellow members Elroy Brittingham and Anthony Sullivan joined him for the initial flying of the POW/ MIA flag.
“We made that at 6:30 a.m.,” he said. “Some Berlin officials were there, and they had the color guard from American Legion Post #123.”
Duffy joined Vincent Holloway Jr. with Post #123 to raise the new flag in honor of veterans lost at war.
“Since Vince was the commander there and I was a past commander, we raised the flags,” he said.
Holloway said the event went off without a hitch despite initial concerns.
“It sounded kind of far-fetched when the mayor called and wanted to do it,” he said.
Holloway said the POW/ MIA flag would hold significance for U.S. Military members and patriotic Americans.
“It means a lot to anyone in the service,” he said.
The National League of Families first adopted the POW/ MIA flag in 1972, which features a silhouette of a prisoner of war overtop a guard tower and barbed wire.
POW/ MIA flags include the phrase, “You Are Not Forgotten,” which carries special significance as more than 1,500 American war veterans still remain unaccounted for.
Fleetwood said in addition to being flown at the Veterans Monument, the POW/MIA flags would also appear on all town-owned flagpoles: Town Hall, the Berlin Police Station, Stephen Decatur Park and Henry Park.
The town’s decision to adopt the practice followed the 2017 decision to fly POW/MIA flags outside Maryland government buildings.
Also, in November 2019, the National POW/MIA Flag Act was approved by Congress, which mandates it be flown outside all federal properties where the U.S. Flag is displayed.
Prior to 2019, POW/MIA flags were flown on Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
Fleetwood said Berlin’s POW/MIA flags would be flown on a daily basis.
“They’re going to fly continuously,” he said.