Honoring POW and MIA Service Members

Published: November 06, 2017 | Author: Kaden Mcbride | Read Time: 2 minutes

missing in action soldiers honoredSouthern Utah University is keeping a seat empty at Eccles Coliseum as a way to honor and remember America’s Prisoners of War and service members who have been declared Missing in Action.

The memorial, known as the Chair of Honor, was dedicated at a special ceremony on October 6 at 6:30 p.m. with retired Navy Capt. Ronald Lewis and SUU President Scott Wyatt addressing attendees.  Wyatt began the ceremony by thanking those who supported the project. Following Wyatt’s remarks, Lewis spoke about the importance of the chair and remembering POW/MIA service members. The colors were presented by the SUU ROTC and the anthem was sung by Jaren Henrie.

Lewis became heavily involved in raising public awareness about America’s POWs and MIA service members after discovering three of his shipmates had never come home from the war in Vietnam. He has been invited to speak by many organizations about the importance of remembering  the over  83,000 service men and women who remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War and the Vietnam War.

The idea for the chair came in late December of 2016 from SUU ROTC Cadet Dalan Bennett, who was inspired by a similar chair at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts. Bennett and his wife, ROTC Cadet Mckenzie Bennett, have worked with Lewis on funding the project through the sale of POW/MIA apparel.

“We are very excited to have this chair of honor here at SUU to serve as a permanent reminder of those service members who have yet to come home,” said McKenzie. “Tiger Funk, [the Facilities Management Executive Director], has been a huge help in navigating the logistics of this project.”

During the homecoming football game on October 7, President Wyatt and the Bennetts unveiled the chair prior to the national anthem. A moment of silence was observed in honor of POW/MIA service members.

“I am so proud of SUU ROTC cadets Dalan and McKenzie Bennett for their leadership in this event, they are two of the future leaders in this great nation's future,” said Lewis.

The Chair of Honor will remain empty until all of America’s missing service members are accounted for and brought home.


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