Tom Cullerton passes measure to recognize missing veterans at local airports

SPRINGFIELD  Illinois’ lost heroes may soon be recognized at local airports, thanks to Senator Tom Cullerton. 

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed Senate Bill 1127 on Thursday to require the Division of Aeronautics under the Department of Transportation fly the Veteran Missing in Action flag at all of the airports in their jurisdiction. 

“Our lost heroes should never be forgotten,” Cullerton said. “This small gesture helps keep our missing heroes from all wars in our hearts and minds.” 

Gary Hall, a Vietnam Veteran from Peoria, brought this legislation to Cullerton after a Peoria airport denied his request to have the POW-MIA Flag fly under the American flag at the airport. 

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 82,478 Americans who fought in those wars are still missing, including: 
· 73,014 from World War II (an approximate number due to 
limited or conflicting data) 
· 7,729 from the Korean War 
· 1,603 from Vietnam 
· 126 from the Cold War 
· 6 from conflicts since 1991 

The DPAA said about 75 percent of those missing Americans are somewhere in the Asia-Pacific. More than 41,000 have been presumed lost at sea. 

Cullerton, served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman, believes we need to find ways to incorporate the nation’s missing veterans into all of our daily lives. 

“We need to look for ways to honor these brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” Cullerton said. “Even those unaccounted should know they may be gone but are not forgotten. This flag serves as a symbol that they are forever in our thoughts and prayers.” 

Cullerton passed Senate Bill 1127 with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration. 

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