The city is in ruins, the once mighty walls are destroyed and the at one time majestic gates have been burnt with fire. The glory is removed and amid the rubble are a few remaining ragamuffin people who have been reduced to the brunt of every joke that comes from the kingdoms that surround them.
So I find it insanely awesome that in this portion of the “Cycle” that the nation of Israel is going through that He provides a walking and talking picture of the “Comfort of God”.
That flag is not one that represents an individual state, branch of service, or other select group. It is the POW/MIA (Prisoners of War/Missing In Action) Flag that calls to mind the sacrifice and plight of those Americans who have sacrificed their own freedom, to preserve liberty for all of us.
It's presence serves to remind us that, while we enjoy the privileges of freedom, somewhere there are soldiers who have not been accounted for and may, in fact, be held against their will by the enemies of Freedom.
Very few people know the story behind this flag, but I feel as though it ties in beautifully with the thought on this post.
It is impossible to forget those Killed in Action (KIA) or Wounded In Action (WIA) because the evidence of their sacrifice is ever before us.
Since World War I more than 200,000 Americans have been listed as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action. Less than half of them were returned at the end of hostilities, leaving more than 125,000 American servicemen Missing In Action since the beginning of World War I.
The politics of our Nation's most unpopular war could have eclipsed the fate of these dedicated soldiers, were it not for the NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES. As the spouses, children, parents and other family members of soldiers missing in Southeast Asia banded together to keep the plight of their loved ones before the American conscience, the organization grew in strength and influence that reached all the way into the White House.
Through the League the missing and the imprisoned servicemen had a voice, but by 1971 something more was needed. Mrs. Michael Hoff, whose husband was among the missing, believed that what the cause lacked was a standard....a flag to remind more fortunate families of those who were still unaccounted for.
Newt Heisley was a pilot during World War II, a dangerous role that accounts for many war-time POWs and MIAs. Years after the war he had come to New York looking for work. "It took me four days to find a bad job at low pay," he later said of his introduction to "Big Apple" advertising agencies. But, by working hard, by 1971 he had gradually moved upward in the industry, eventually working for an agency with many national accounts.
As a veteran, the call for a flag designed to raise awareness of our Nation's POW/MIAs was a personal challenge. It was even more challenging when he considered that his oldest son Jeffrey was, during these Vietnam War years, training for combat with the United States Marines at Quantico, Virginia. As he pondered this new challenge a series of events set in motion the ideas that would create a flag unlike anything since the days of Betsy Ross.
First, Jeffery became very ill while training for combat. The illness, diagnosed as hepatitis, ravaged his body emaciating his face and structure. When he returned home, medically discharged and unable to continue further, his father looked in horror at what had once been a strong, young man. Then, as Newt Heisley looked closer at his son's gaunt features, he began to imagine what life must be like for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. Slowly he began to sketch the profile of his son, working in pencil to create a black and white silhouette, as the new flag's design was created in his mind. Barbed wire, a tower, and most prominently the visage of a gaunt young man became the initial proposal.
Newt Heisley's black and white pencil sketch was one of several designs considered for the new POW/MIA flag. Newt planned, should his design be accepted, to add color at a later date...perhaps a deep purple and white. "In the advertising industry, you do everything in black and white first, then add the color," he says.
Mr. Heisley's proposal for the new flag was unique. Rarely does a flag prominently display the likeness of a person. None-the-less, it was the design featuring the gaunt silhouette of his son Jeffrey that was accepted and, before Mr. Heisly could return to refine his proposal and add the colors he had planned, the black and white flags were already being printed in quantity by Annin & Company. (Though the POW/MIA flag has been produced in other colors, often in red and white, the black and white design became the most commonly used version.)
The design for the MIA/POW flag was never copyrighted. It became a flag that belongs to everyone, a design that hauntingly reminds us of those we dare not ever forget. Behind the black and white silhouette is a face we can't see...the face of a husband, a father, or a son who has paid with their freedom, for our freedom. Beneath the image are the words....
"You Are Not Forgotten"
It stands in striking contrast to the circumstances at times in my own life. It is the "comfort of God" that showed up to a scattered nation to lead them back home. It was God who showed up into the life of a self righteous hypocrite that had an "down pat" look on the outside going on to lead me back home.
You have been brought back home because of the same “Comfort of God” displayed through the blood shed at Calvary.