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Opinion | A Flag for American Hostages

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

With an Act of Congress, a brand new banner could possibly be flown below the Stars and Stripes on authorities buildings — from publish 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 Americans that the United States is doing every part in its energy to get them again. It additionally would unfold consciousness of the nationwide emergency this difficulty has rapidly 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 most important parts 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 wrestle: Each day that passes is one other day that hostage households are robbed of being complete. Third, three human profiles, which signify the hostage’s particular person combat and reveals our nation’s variety. Fourth, the motto “Bring Them Home,” 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 is a powerful precedent for the hostage households’ effort. In 1970, a bunch of households of Prisoners of War (POWs) and people Missing in Action (MIAs) fought to carry consciousness to their family members’ struggling by creating the National League of Families POW/MIA flag, because the “symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing, and unaccounted for. …”

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

Today, in response to the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, there are at the least 67 Americans wrongfully held overseas. They are captive due to the assumption that American residents will be swapped for imprisoned comrades, ransomed to finance malign actions or used to leverage United States officers to alter authorities coverage. But regardless of the cause, it means 67 households have had their lives suspended. They are in anguish and ache as they ponder the situation of their family members day by day.

Washington has recently gotten considerably extra critical in tackling this disaster. President Barack Obama established the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs office in 2015. President Donald Trump signed the Levinson Act into legislation in 2020. Just a couple of weeks in the past, President Joe Biden issued an executive order geared toward stopping the taking of extra Americans. Bringing our hostages and wrongful detainees house is a nonpartisan nationwide precedence. But extra will be executed.

It can be applicable in the identical laws to declare a National Day of Awareness 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 folks that they’re being robbed of their freedom solely as a result of they carry a blue passport emblazoned with our nation’s seal. Let us present our dedication to our fellow residents in such dire circumstances and clarify that bringing our American captives house is a nationwide precedence.

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