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US Marine wrote at 2010-08-09 21:01:15
The USAF flag manual is not the overall authority on flag protocol.  Your answer is incorrect.  Since the POW-MIA flag is displayed nation-wide, it takes precedence over state flags.  The POW-MIA flag is flown just under the National Ensign and above the state flag, or in the case of a two-pole display, is flown underneath the National Ensign and the state flag is flown on its own, even though is junior to the POW-MIA flag.  That is to say, when displayed on two poles, you will view it as the National Ensign topping one pole (the senior- to the flags right), and the state flag topping the other pole, with the POW-MIA flag underneath the U.S. flag (and thus appearing lower than the state flag), even though the POW-MIA flag is senior to the state flag.

Vexillophile wrote at 2012-12-17 04:27:59
No, Mr. Kirsch's initial answer is quite correct. The POW/MIA flag is actually the flag of the organization National League of POW/MIA Families, a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit. In correct flag protocol, the flags of organizations are junior to state and municipal flags. Under no circumstances should an organizational flag take precedence over a state flag, no matter how fine the cause.

In the words of the California Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, "States are sovereign geo-political entities and the soldier, sailor, airmen, and marines who serve do so for the preservation of those geo-political entities- not vice-versa. Individuals -no matter how noble or extreme their sacrifice-do not outrank the sovereignty of the republic either at the Federal or State level.  That idea is foreign to any interpretation of republicanism and hence, why the federal law has never directed that the POW/MIA Flag be flown directly below the American Flag. Some groups who have admirably not forgotten their comrades have set up 'protocols' that proliferate on web sites, but these protocols have no basis in the law and are simply a reflection of members' opinions of what they would like to see happen."


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Albert Kirsch


I am more-or-less expert in vexillology (the study of flags). My expertise is particularly strong in North America at the level of city and county, but if I don`t know the answer I know a dozen people who do. So if there`s a flag in the newspaper or on TV that you have trouble identifying, let me know. I`ll do my best. But PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO APPRAISE A FLAG'S VALUE: (1) I have no expertise in that area and (2) even if I did, I cannot appraise something I can't see. Take it to a museum which has a specialist in textiles and the like.


In this field, I designed the flag of Carroll County, Illinois, in 1974 (see You can see my personal flag at

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