A chair would be placed on the grounds of the United States Capitol to honor American Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA), under legislation introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch. The Massachusetts Democrat's bill aims to follow up on commemorative chairs that have been placed in prominent locations in cities and states across the country.
The chair would feature the logo of the National League of POW/MIA Families and remain unoccupied to honor their service.
In a statement Lynch said the proposal came out of a spring meeting with Joe D'Entremont, president of Rolling Thunder MA 1.
I am proud to work alongside Joe D'Entremont and my colleagues in order to pay our respects to the men and women who are Missing in Action or Prisoners of War. This chair will stand as a reminder to their families and our nation that we will never forget their heroic service and sacrifice.
The U.S. Capitol serves as a symbol of our nation's history and enduring spirit, so it is appropriate to recognize those who remain unaccounted for under its dome.
The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue concerns the fate of American servicemen who were reported as missing in action (MIA) during the Vietnam War and operations in neighboring Southeast Asian nations. Following the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, which ended the war in Vietnam, 591 American prisoners of war (POWs) were returned during Operation Homecoming.
The U.S. listed about 1,350 Americans as prisoners of war or missing in action and roughly 1,200 Americans reported killed in action and body not recovered. Many of these were airmen who were shot down over North Vietnam or Laos. POW/MIA activists played a role in pushing the U.S. government to improve its efforts in resolving the fates of the missing. Progress in doing so was slow until the mid-1980s, when relations between the U.S. and Vietnam began to improve, leading to full diplomatic relations in the mid-1990s.