MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The POW/MIA (prisoners of war/missing in action) flag will soon be flown beneath every American flag on city-owned property, thanks to a donation from resident Salvatore Monastra.
The Mount Vernon City Council voted unanimously at its meeting Wednesday night to accept the donation.
Monastra, a Vietnam veteran, said the flag is a reminder of the great sacrifices made by men and women serving in the military who were captured or went missing.
Monastra said that too often, these members of the military are forgotten. By flying the flags, Monastra said, they will be recognized and appreciated.
“To me, it’s a brother that we could never find, who can’t come home,” he said. “His family is constantly grieving. These people should never be forgotten. And this should help a lot of kids be informed as to what the flag means - which a lot don’t know about.”
Former State Assemblyman Ron Tocci, a Vietnam veteran and former New York State Veterans Affairs Commissioner, thanked the Mount Vernon City Council for allowing the flags to be flown, agreeing that prisoners of war and those missing in action don’t always get the attention they deserve.
“Anytime there is a reminder of veterans being out in our community is a great thing,” Tocci said. “This symbolic resolution remembers very special people. Every time a youngster sees a flag like this, they are learning about the ultimate sacrifice people made for the country.”
City Councilman J. Yuhanna Edwards, also a Vietnam veteran, said that it was an easy decision to pass the legislation because the POW/MIA flags are usually flown around the city but haven't been in several years. Edwards said he would also like to see a blue flag that represents disabled veterans flown, as well.
“There are so many fellow soldiers who are no longer here, or like myself, are disabled,” Edwards said. “A lot of people don’t even know we’re around. It’s very important to fly this flag, especially when there are young people coming home from war right now.”