Kentucky Gov. Beshear To Keep POW/MIA Flag Permanently Flying At State Capitol

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Frankfort, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2019) – To remember and honour every prisoner of war and those missing in action, Governor Andy Beshear will sign a proclamation Monday that will order the POW/MIA flag to fly permanently at the state Capitol.

Kentuckians who visit the statehouse at 700 Capitol Ave. in Frankfort will observe the flag flying tomorrow and 365 days of the year.

“Every day we honour the sacrifices of Kentuckians and Americans who are still prisoners, missing or unaccounted for,” Beshear said. “To show our daily commitment to these heroes and their families, the POW/MIA flag will be flown permanently at the Capitol. I will issue and sign an official proclamation to ensure it will fly every day I serve as governor.”

The proclamation will be filed with the Secretary of State Monday.

“Gov. Beshear’s action makes Kentucky one of the first states to fly the POW/MIA flag every day at the state Capitol,” said Kelly Shehan, vice president of Rolling Thunder Kentucky Chapter 5. “I thank Gov. Beshear for helping to pave the way and I hope all states will recognize the importance of the new federal, bipartisan POW/MIA Flag Act.”

On Dec. 9, the POW/MIA flag was flown as part of a POW/MIA ceremony held at the Capitol, where the “Chair of Honor” remains on display on the first floor. However, the previous governor did not issue nor did he file a proclamation with the Secretary of State that would have provided specific flag protocols. The last proclamation directing flag status was issued earlier this year and that order lasted just one day. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, in keeping with traditional Inauguration Day customs, all flags were removed and new flags were flown for the incoming governor.

Gov. Beshear was not aware that the POW/MIA flag was removed until Thursday. He immediately instructed his office to look into the issue. After reviewing flag protocols, he decided to issue a proclamation in order to provide clear direction on the POW/MIA flag’s permanent status.

On Friday, Beshear directed flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in honour of a Kentucky Marine killed in action during World War II, but whose remains were only recently identified. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced Friday that Marine Corps Reserve PFC John R. Bayens, 20, of Louisville, was killed during World War II, and accounted for on Sept. 23, 2019. To read more about Bayens, click here.