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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill requiring the state Capitol to display the flag that honors prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action on six national holidays unanimously passed a House committee Monday.
"Forty-eight Utah women and men are reported missing in action at this time," said Rep. John Westwood, R-Cedar City, sponsor of HB62. "We need to recognize these people."
The bill originally proposed to require all government entities in Utah to display the POW/MIA flag on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
The substitute bill approved by the House Political Subdivisions Committee calls for four locations at the Capitol complex to display the POW/MIA flag beneath the U.S. and Utah flags on the same flag pole on those six dates.
"We are all supportive of the idea, in concept," said Rep. Spencer J. Cox, R-Fairview. "The practical application of that is what caused some concern. … Hopefully this will give more encouragement to those around the state to voluntarily post this flag as well."
Joe Call, with the Utah Eagle Forum, voiced his support for the bill.
"All three of my sons served in Iraq, and my brother served in Vietnam, as well as my father in WWII," Call said. "Too many times the POWs are forgotten, and I think this would be a great way to acknowledge those people."
The bill will now go before the full House for consideration.