The two congressmen who represent Jacksonville–Democrat U.S. Rep. Al Lawson and Republican U.S. Rep. John Rutherford–are bringing back their proposal make the POW/MIA Memorial and Museum at Cecil Field into the “national memorial and museum to honor all former prisoners of war and those still missing-in-action.”
“Every day, I fly the POW/MIA flag outside of my congressional office,” Rutherford said at the end of last week. “It serves as a reminder of the 82,000 U.S. service members who are former prisoners of war or still missing in action. These heroes deserve a national memorial designated in their honor, and this bill establishes that memorial right here in Northeast Florida. Thank you to my colleague Rep. Lawson for joining me in leading this important effort.”
“Our servicemembers and veterans have always been the pride of our nation, and we admire them for their sacrifice and dedication,” Lawson said. “It is important to honor the brave Americans who have been prisoners of war and those who remain missing in action by creating a national museum and memorial in their tribute. It my privilege to introduce this legislation with Rep. Rutherford, as we work to bring this long overdue designation to our community.”
“According to the Department of Defense, there are approximately 82,000 former prisoners of war and unaccounted for U.S. servicemembers,” Rutherford’s office noted. “This bill would designate the existing POW/MIA Memorial and Museum at Cecil Field as the national memorial and museum. It is located on 26 acres at the former NAS Cecil Field Master Jet Base – now known as Cecil Commerce Center. Jacksonville’s Mary Hoff, wife of MIA pilot Lt. Cmdr. Michael G. Hoff and an Orange Park native, was a major driving force behind establishing the memorial. She was also instrumental in developing the POW/MIA flag, the only other flag authorized to fly over the White House and on the same pole as the American flag.”
Lawson first introduced the proposal back in 2019 with strong support from the Florida delegation. Besides Rutherford, other cosponsors include Democrat U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor and Darren Soto and Republican U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal Dunn, Ross Spano, Michael Waltz and Ted Yoho. Spano was defeated last year in his bid for another term while Yoho retired from Congress.