MIA-POW Chair of Honor installed in Crown Complex in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- The empty chair is a simple and constant reminder. Never forget. Bring them home.

On Tuesday, North Carolina's Rolling Thunder Chapter 1 unveiled the POW-MIA Chair of Honor inside Fayetteville's Crown Complex.

It's the fourth chair of its kind in the area, which honors prisoners of war and those who are missing in action.

Tens of thousands of American troops and contractors are among the missing, with 190 North Carolinians unaccounted for from the Korean War, and 39 who remain missing from the Vietnam War.

"It is because of these numbers and these Americans that it is important to remember and not to forget about them," said Craig Hardy, President of the Rolling Thunder Chapter One. "This Chair of Honor is a symbol to help remember them and to help push to find answers."

The Crown Chair of Honor sits on the south side of the coliseum, where much of the venues traffic passes through during major events.

"It will never be hidden," said Jim Grafstrom, General Manger of Spectra Venue Management , the firm that oversees the Crown Complex.

Hardy said the installation marks the fourth POW-MIA Chair of Honor in the Fayetteville area.

One temporarily sits in the Fayetteville City Hall, and will move around the area.

Last year, the first chair was installed in the lobby of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. It was followed by an installation at JP Riddle Stadium.

There are plans to install the chairs on Fort Bragg and in the Spring Lake Town Hall in 2016.

"We know that many of the people that we're bringing home that are prisoners of war or missing in action come from right here in our community," said Kenneth Edge, Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.

Just last month, the remains of Staff Sergeant Donald Stewart returned to Harnett County from Vietnam. The airman, who had been missing for nearly 50 years, was killed during an aircraft crash.

Read more here: Missing airman laid to rest at Veterans Day events

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