2002-02-21 / Community

POW/MIA flag flies again over city hall in Agoura Hills

Acorn Staff Writer
By John Loesing

POW/MIA flag flies again
over city hall in Agoura Hills

The nation’s official prisoner of war/missing in action (POW/MIA) flag is flying at Agoura Hills City Hall for the first time in six months.

The black and white flag, which features the combined symbols of a man, guard tower and barbed wire, was taken down last year after it became dilapidated. When city hall moved from its old location on Agoura Court to the new civic center on Ladyface Court, the flag was never replaced.

It’s the third POW/MIA flag that’s flown in the city. The first one went up the flagpole about 10 years ago, according to officials.

"It got so torn and tattered, we bought another one and put it up, and then the second one got beat up, but we never replaced it until we got to the new city hall," said Agoura Hills Mayor Denis Weber, as U.S. Army veteran.

When he moved to Agoura Hills last November, Roy Nussbaum, a Vietnam veteran, questioned city officials why the flag wasn’t flying.

Today, the flag is in full view, even seen at night with the help of lights. It’s connected to the city hall flagpole just beneath the American and California flags.

"There are thousands of veterans and MIAs who are unaccounted for," Nussbaum said. "During the Vietnam War, people wore POW bracelets. This is just a way of remembering them until they’re all accounted for, but unfortunately that will never happen."

Nussbaum served with the U.S. Army Fourth Infantry Division in South Vietnam’s Central Highlands in 1967 and 1968.

According the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Action, a Mrs. Michael Hoff, the wife of a missing in action serviceman, began urging the development of a POW/MIA flag in 1971.

With the league’s approval, a flag was manufactured for distribution and flew for the first time at the White House in 1982 during national POW/MIA Day. Congress raised the flag over the U.S. Capitol in 1989.

According to history records, the POW/MIA flag remains the only flag other than the Stars and Stripes to have flown at the White House and the Capitol.

Today, the POW/MIA flag flies at public locations around the country on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans’ Day.

For Nussbaum, the flag mostly brings back memories of Southeast Asia.

"There are 58,000 people on the [Vietnam memorial] wall in Washington, D.C. and a lot of them are my friends," Nussbaum said.

"We’re trying to keep it up so people don’t forget."

Nussbaum belongs to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) West Valley Post No. 2805 and invites fellow veterans to call (818) 706-1799 for information.

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