Governor Cuomo Signs Assemblyman Buchwald’s Bill Supporting the POW/MIA Flag following National Holiday

Idea for bill came from local Harrison resident
September 23, 2014

Assemblyman Buchwald with his constituent Salvatore Monastra

Assemblyman David Buchwald (D–White Plains) announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill Buchwald authored that would require local governments to display the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action (POW/MIA) flag when it is provided to the municipality by a local veterans organization (A.8489A/S.7483). The idea for the bill came from Buchwald’s constituent in West Harrison, Salvatore Monastra. Mr. Monastra is a Vietnam veteran and worked hand in hand with the Assemblyman to develop this legislation. The bill was signed by the Governor just after National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which this year was on Friday September 19th.

“I’m very pleased to have seen a constituent’s idea become law, and I continue to encourage the residents of my Assembly District to tell me their thoughts on how to improve New York State government,” said Assemblyman Buchwald. “I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation, particularly following National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which will encourage the display of the POW/MIA flag in New York State. Our nation’s current military engagements only serve as reminders of the sacrifice made by the men, women and families of our armed forces.”

“This flag honors the heroes who leave their lives behind to defend our freedom, and I thank Assemblyman Buchwald for his committed efforts to preserving the memory of our brave men and women who fought for us,” stated Salvatore Monastra. Mr. Monastra approached Buchwald’s office with this legislative concept in 2013, and worked with the Assemblyman as the bill was introduced in the Assembly, passed through committees and the legislature, and ultimately signed by the Governor. Mr. Monastra helps to honor his fellow veterans by volunteering his time with the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations.

The POW/MIA flag was developed by the National League of Families to remind all citizens about the U.S. military personnel who were taken as prisoners or listed as missing in action. The flag was officially recognized by Congress in 1998 and was authorized to fly each year on several national observances, including Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. Congress also designated the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The bill passed by Buchwald requires local municipalities to display the flag on these six days as well. This legislation will not be a financial burden on municipalities, as the POW/MIA flags are required to be flown only when provided by a local veterans organization along with any necessary attachments or fasteners. The bill was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Greg Ball (R –Patterson).

“The New York State Council of Veterans Organizations proudly supports this legislation, and I am very grateful to Assemblyman Buchwald and Senator Ball for passing it,” said Tom DeMeo, President of the New York State Council of Veterans Organizations. “It will give veterans and military families great pride to see the POW/MIA flag waving from their local town or city hall.”

To ensure our soldiers make a smooth transition back into civilian life, Assemblyman Buchwald has also created a section on his Assembly website where veterans can search for jobs and find services available to them at the federal, state and county levels. The Veterans Job Bank provides opportunities for jobs from thousands of employers worldwide, available at bit.ly/NYVeterans.