Prisoner of war flag bill moving through legislature

Prisoner of war flag bill moving through legislature
Carole Hickerson
Carole Hickerson

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - You may have seen it, a black flag with the silhouette of a soldier. It's called the "prisoner of war, missing in action" flag. And if a bill clears the Legislature, that flag will fly at the State Capitol, six days a year.

"He was one of those Americans that felt like he should do his part," Carole Hickerson said of her late husband Steve Hanson.

Steve and Carole were just five years into their marriage when his Marine Corps helicopter went down during the Vietnam War.

A chaplain delivered the news.

"I can remember his words were, 'We're not here to tell you that your husband has been killed. We're here to tell you that he's missing,'" she said.

That had everything to do with the image on the black POW-MIA flag that flies at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and the Oahu Veterans Center.

"My background is art and so I designed just a simple little drawing," she said.

Carole's drawing became the letterhead of a national organization that helped families whose soldiers were prisoners of war or were missing in action in Southeast Asia.

"I had started out with a bumper sticker that said, 'Don't let them be forgotten,'" she said.

The organization used her drawing, a silhouette of Steve, and her words, You are Not Forgotten, as the symbols on the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action flag that's flown at state capitols and stadiums.

It's the only flag aside from the American flag to fly over the capitol building in Washington, DC.

"It becoming a flag and seeing it fly is just wonderful for me," she said.

A bill in the legislature would make it law to fly the flag in front of our State Capitol six days a year, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.

Steve came off the MIA list when his remains were found and identified.

Carole married Jim Hickerson, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"I went through a lot. Jim went through a lot. Unfortunately, Steve didn't come home. But I know he's looking down thinking things are looking pretty good for our family," she said.

The flag means a lot to her family. It means a lot to a lot of people.

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