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                     Office of the Press Secretary
            (Aboard Air Force One en route Washington, D.C.)
For Immediate Release                                 September 15, 1999




As we look back over this century that is swiftly drawing to a close, we recognize that the light of freedom still burns brightly in our world today because of the service and sacrifice of America's men and women in uniform. Through the devastation of two world wars and the brutality of numerous regional conflicts; on peacekeeping assignments and humanitarian missions; from the darkest days of the Cold War to the fall of the Berlin Wall, our Nation's servicemen and women have fought the forces of tyranny and won signal victories for liberty, human dignity, and the ideals of democracy. On every continent, on the seas, and in the air, gallant young Americans have paid for our future with their own, and many have preserved our freedom by sacrificing their own.

On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we remember with profound gratitude those who suffered captivity and those whose fate remains unknown. Many American POWs were tortured at the hands of their captors; all experienced the ordeal of being held against their will and the anguish of indefinite separation from their families and their homeland.

Today we also honor the valiant families of our fellow citizens who remain missing -- families who have had to suffer not only the absence of their loved ones, but also the uncertainty of their fate. As Americans, we remain unshakable in our resolve to achieve the fullest possible accounting of those missing and to strive to bring home the remains of those who have died. Only by doing so can we begin to acknowledge the debt we owe to these patriots and assuage the grief of the families they left behind for the sake of our Nation.

On September 17, 1999, the flag of the National League of Families of American Prisoners of War and Missing in Southeast Asia, a black and white banner symbolizing America's missing and our unwavering determination to account for them, will be flown over the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, the Selective Service System Headquarters, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, national cemeteries, and other locations across our country.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 17, 1999, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I ask all Americans to join me in honoring former American prisoners of war and those whose fate is still undetermined. I also encourage the American people to remember with compassion and concern the courageous families who persevere in their quest to know the fate of their missing loved ones. Finally, I urge Federal, State, and local officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of September in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fourth.


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