February 27, 2014

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill Honoring POW/MIA Servicemembers

Bill Would Establish Commemorative Chair on U.S. Capitol Grounds

Washington, DC – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to honor American servicemembers who are Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA). The POW/MIA Commemorative Chair Act will honor these approximately 83,000 service members by establishing a permanent commemorative chair on the grounds of the United States Capitol.

“All three of my brothers served in the military, and I understand the sacrifices our service members and their families make to defend our country every single day. We must honor the contributions of our brave men and women in uniform, including those who have not made it home,” said Senator Warren, “I am proud to display the POW/MIA flag outside my office, and I am pleased to support Rolling Thunder Massachusetts Chapter 1’s efforts to establish a commemorative chair on the U.S. Capitol grounds.”

“More than 83,000 American service members remain missing or unaccounted for from past conflicts - including 49 missing service members from Vietnam and Korea from the State of New Hampshire alone,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  “Placing a commemorative POW/MIA chair on the Capitol grounds would serve as an enduring reminder of our nation’s commitment to never forget our fallen and missing soldiers who made such tremendous sacrifices on behalf of our country.”

“Service members have made great sacrifices for our country, and the POW/MIA Commemorative Chair Act will serve as an enduring reminder of the bravery and courage of the men and women who have served,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen said. “This symbol of our nation’s gratitude on the Capitol Grounds will underscore our commitment to American service members still missing and provide a measure of solace to the families of our nation’s heroes who have also made extraordinary sacrifices.”   

“I am proud to support this commemorative act to honor the thousands of POW/MIA servicemembers and their families, all of who have made great sacrifices for the protection and freedom of our nation,” said Senator Marco Rubio, “While this can’t fully express our gratitude to these brave men and women, this small act will serve as a reminder to everyone who visits the U.S. Capitol to never forget the service and sacrifices of our armed forces and their families.”

“Our nation’s POW-MIAs should never be forgotten. This bill will help every American visiting the nation’s capitol recognize the incredible sacrifice made by those brave Americans whose fate is still unknown and the courage of the families that are left behind,” said Senator Edward Markey, “I appreciate the efforts of President Joe D’Entremont and the members of the Massachusetts Chapter of Rolling Thunder to ensure that our service members receive the recognition they earned through their noble service to our nation.”

The POW/MIA Commemorative Chair Act would direct the Architect of the Capitol to place a commemorative chair bearing the logo and colors of POW/MIA service members in a prominent location at the U.S. Capitol. This chair would remain unoccupied to serve as a reminder of the ongoing challenge of accounting for America’s missing service members and in recognition of their sacrifices for our nation. 

The POW/MIA Commemorative Chair Act is supported by veteran’s advocacy groups such as the National League of POW/MIA Families, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the American Legion, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), and Rolling Thunder.

Full text of the bill is available here.