WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston)’s legislation H.R. 1670, the National POW/MIA Remembrance Act of 2015, passed unanimously on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. H.R. 1670 honors American Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) by placing a chair on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. H.R. 1670 has bipartisan support from 45 House cosponsors.
Commemorative chairs, which carry the POW and MIA insignia, have been placed in cities and towns around the country, in spaces ranging from city halls to professional sports stadiums. These seats remain perpetually unoccupied as a solemn reminder of the over 83,000 brave service members still waiting to be brought home.
“I am very pleased to work alongside my colleagues to pay respect to the men and women who are Missing in Action or Prisoners of War. These brave Americans serve our nation with valor and honor. This commemorative chair will serve as a daily reminder to our POW/MIA and their families that we will never forget them,” said Congressman Lynch. “With the help of Rolling Thunder Massachusetts Chapter 1, the Commonwealth has led the way in honoring our Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. I am proud that the United States Capitol will follow suit.”
Joe D’Entremont of Jamaica Plain, the former President of the Rolling Thunder Massachusetts Chapter 1, first brought this initiative to the attention of Congressman Lynch in 2014. D’Entremont and Gus Dante, both members of the Rolling Thunder, Inc. National Board, have worked hard to promote government accountability for American prisoners of war and missing in action and their families. They have also been national leaders in advocating for POW/MIA chairs in venues across the country.
“I would like to thank Congressman Lynch for his hard work on this issue. A POW/MIA chair that will remain perpetually empty to help people remember that even though our soldiers are not here, there is still a space for them. That’s why displaying in the Capitol will remind the families of the missing and the public that our government has not forgotten those that did not come home,” said Gus Dante, member of the Rolling Thunder, Inc. National Board.
A companion bill, S. 885, the National POW/MIA Remembrance Act of 2015, has been introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The Senate companion bill has bipartisan support from 17 cosponsors.