Professor Paul Marx: An uneducated viewpoint of the POW/MIA Flag

iraq pow flag The POW/MIA Flag: Obviously still has meaning for our present day warriors


Linked here is what the Baltimore Sun seems to feel is an appropriate op ed piece for Memorial Day Weekend. *eyes rolling*

University of New Haven Professor Emeritus Paul Marx, now a freelance writer, has once again shown the ignorance of academia in respect to the POW/MIA Flag. It also supports my long-held personal opinion that simply referring to oneself as ‘a writer’ certainly doesn’t make one omnipotent nor judicious.

Marx refers to our flag as “ugly, political and of very limited meaning”, “It continues to be flown despite the fact that the war ended 34 years ago and there are no Americans held prisoner in Vietnam” and “It continues to be flown out of ignorance or indifference.” I almost don’t even know where to begin except to truly wonder if the editor of the Baltimore Sun was on vacation the day this piece was submitted for publication. 

Mr. Marx, you bet our flag is political. Because of politics, lack of true governmental oversight and the DoD’s desire to cover their mistakes, both past and present, we fight for the full accounting of our loved ones. It may be limited in meaning to you because you do not understand its meaning, purpose or intent and didn’t take the time to go to Google and find out.

It is called the POW/MIA Flag, in honor and remembrance of those who were POW and or MIA from Vietnam who are still unaccounted for.  Over time it has become a symbol for those who are missing from all military conflicts.  Uncle Sam may want America to believe that there are no prisoners left in Vietnam, yet the over 900 live-sighting reports that have been all uniquely discredited make for interesting discussion to say the least.  Furthermore, the MIA reference is still pertinent due to the fact that there are still over 1700 American servicemen who the US and Vietnamese have not accounted for from the end of the war to present day.  Many were known to be held into captivity, photographed in captivity and have had live sightings reported well into the 1990’s.  The only thing that seems to be limited is your grasp of the topic of your op ed piece.  How many times have you, as a professor, critiqued your own students for making such an agregious error?

The only ignorance I see here in on the part of people like you and select others who have taken their cursory understanding of our flag and the POW/MIA Issue exclusively to add yet another published work to the list of your post-retirement publications. Indifference, well that characteristic can again be  attributed to you due to your refusal to educate yourself on the topic before you and then to have the audacity to pass it on for publication. You, Sir, have the luxuries of ignorance and indifference with regard to the POW/MIA Issue for the simple fact that our loved ones and thousands more since colonial times died for this nation and what it stands for to give you the right to be an educated idiot.

Incidentally, if anyone would like to email Mr. Marx,

The VVA: Newsletter article penned by Hendon


The Vietnam Veterans of America Newsletter recently posted a cover story on the POW/MIA Issue and An Enormous Crime author, former Congressman Bill Hendon, provides some additional commentary.

Here is a compelling excerpt;

A half-dozen or so postwar intercepts of secret Pathet Lao radio transmissions describing how, when, where, and why they were holding or moving American POWs collectively described the confinement or movement of well over one hundred American POWs inside Laos. DIA’s and the majority’s ruling? Not one of the postwar radio intercepts relating to living American POWs was to be believed.

And last but not least, some 925 postwar intelligence reports the committee investigators had deemed plausible or credible, many reporting U.S. POWs being held at the same prison or in the same area at the same time or over a period of time: all 925 sources were either lying or confused, DIA officials said. A majority on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs agreed.

As we all venture to cookouts, memorial events and the like, The POW Warrior would like to thank the some 400,000 patriotic Americans who have made the pilgrimage to Washington, DC this weekend to participate in Rolling Thunder’s annual POW/MIA demonstration in our nation’s capital. Each and every one of them are heroes in my book for willingly giving of their time, money and energy in the name of our POWs and MIAs.

And finally, in honor of those who ride for our POWs this weekend, here is the link to our article from last year in response to columnist Garrison Keillor who was “inconvenienced” last year as the demonstration passed him on the way to the museums on Constitution Avenue. 

To the millions of proud and brave Americans who served this great country of ours with honor and distinction, this Memorial Day Weekend, we solemnly say Thank You.

The POW Warrior

Update: The POW Warrior has learned from another family member that a retraction of sorts for the above referenced article will appear in the next VVA Newsletter. It will be posted here once the VVA has it linked on their site.

Saying Goodbye to Ted Sampley: The Activist’s Activist

Ted Sampley

Over the years I had always heard stories about Ted Sampley.  In each of them he seemed larger than life.  I remember being a bit nervous the first time I met him at a POW/MIA event wondering if what I had to say would resonate with someone as tuned in to the Issue as Ted was.  What I found was what I can only refer to as a gentle giant.  Ted’s eyes said more to me than anything that would come out of his mouth that day.  I saw compassion, tenderness and most importantly, as I told him our story, I saw the wheels in his head turning.  Ted was a wonderful speaker but he was also an amazing listener.  He asked probing questions and made thought-provoking suggestions.

Ted, for all extensive purposes, gave his life to this Issue; for the families and for the spirit of each of those who are still unaccounted for.  His passion and selfless acts, as daring and creative as they were, were all part of a deeper sense of dedication and loyalty to those less fortunate; those who never made it out of Vietnam alive. 

The most incredible part of Ted Sampley is that he was able to maintain this passion, this furvor for decades.   His love for his fellow warrior and for the nation that he dedicated 10 years of his life to was linked to every project that he became a part of, be it restoring or rejuvenating the vibrancy of his hometown or standing with a bullhorn on The Mall in DC, Ted was a believer.

Since his death, one of his detractors collectively with the Washington Post here here and here have unsuccessfully attempted to take parting shots at Ted.  The WaPo has been “selective” in the comments that they have allowed to appear coupled with these articles.  The Pow Warrior has submitted a lengthy response that has, interestingly enough, not yet been accepted.   If you would like to have a copy, please email me.

I will leave you all and Ted, with the closing paragraph of my commentary which I am sure Ted would find quite fitting and may well give him cause to smile …

This hit piece and that of Ms. Keating’s do far more to illuminate your own personal characters than that of Ted Sampley.  Ted believed in a cause, sacrificed himself and dedicated his life to that cause.  Few people leave this world with the ability to have this said about them; even fewer in that select group are reporters.  Therefore, in the end, Ted still wins.