June 10, 2023

One easy, but highly effective, solution to additional provoke the general public and our leaders into motion? An official flag.

With an Act of Congress, a brand new banner might be flown beneath the Stars and Stripes on authorities buildings — from submit workplaces all through the nation to embassies around the globe. The flag would function a nationwide promise to the households of hostages and wrongfully detained Individuals that america is doing every part in its energy to get them again. It additionally would unfold consciousness of the nationwide emergency this challenge has shortly grow to be, hopefully resulting in extra stress on the federal government to behave — and ship — on that promise.

After a prolonged design course of, the households of present and former hostages and the organizations that assist them have helped create such a flag.

There are 5 important components to the flag. First, the flag’s title, “Hostages and Wrongful Detainees,” which complies with the acknowledged language of The Levinson Act. Second, the counting-days image, which emphasizes the central attribute of their battle: Every day that passes is one other day that hostage households are robbed of being complete. Third, three human profiles, which characterize the hostage’s particular person battle and reveals our nation’s range. Fourth, the motto “Convey Them House,” which is a name to motion. Fifth, the flag’s yellow and black colours, which be all ears to the custom of utilizing yellow ribbons to recollect our captives and the darkness of their cells, dungeons and caves.

There’s a robust precedent for the hostage households’ effort. In 1970, a gaggle of households of Prisoners of Conflict (POWs) and people Lacking in Motion (MIAs) fought to convey consciousness to their family members’ struggling by creating the Nationwide League of Households POW/MIA flag, because the “image of our Nation’s concern and dedication to resolving as totally as doable the fates of Individuals nonetheless prisoner, lacking, and unaccounted for. …”

The POW/MIA flag is flown over the White Home, in Congress and all method of federal buildings. Seeing this flag reminds each American of the continual battle of those households to convey their family members house and of our gratitude to their sacrifice. The flag additionally was a strong factor within the push to convey house all American POWs on the finish of the Vietnam Conflict.

Right now, in line with the James W. Foley Legacy Basis, there are at the very least 67 Individuals wrongfully held overseas. They’re captive due to the idea that Americans may be swapped for imprisoned comrades, ransomed to finance malign actions or used to leverage United States officers to vary authorities coverage. However regardless of the purpose, it means 67 households have had their lives suspended. They’re in anguish and ache as they ponder the situation of their family members daily.

Washington has currently gotten considerably extra critical in tackling this disaster. President Barack Obama established the Particular Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs workplace in 2015. President Donald Trump signed the Levinson Act into regulation in 2020. Just some weeks in the past, President Joe Biden issued an government order geared toward stopping the taking of extra Individuals. Bringing our hostages and wrongful detainees house is a nonpartisan nationwide precedence. However extra may be finished.

It could be acceptable in the identical laws to declare a Nationwide Day of Consciousness for Hostage Taking and Wrongful Detention.

Being taken hostage as a result of we’re American can occur to any of us, and, sadly, it’s taking place too typically around the globe. Like our beloved POWs and MIAs, the hostages and wrongful detainees deserve an official flag to remind the American those who they’re being robbed of their freedom solely as a result of they carry a blue passport emblazoned with our nation’s seal. Allow us to present our dedication to our fellow residents in such dire circumstances and clarify that bringing our American captives house is a nationwide precedence.