Empty seat at Gillette honors POW’s and MIA’s
Fans filled the seats at Gillette Stadium for Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Bills … every seat but one, that is. The stadium, home to the New England Patriots and Revolution, became the first in major league sports to leave a permanently empty seat in order to honor American soldiers listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.
In a prepared statement, Patriots CEO and chairman of The Kraft Group, Robert Kraft, explained why Gillette felt the need to honor those veterans that have not come home.
“We have always felt a special connection with our military and saw this seat dedication as a unique way to recognize and honor those soldiers who served, but never returned home.” He added, “We hope the seat will serve as a constant reminder for fans attending games at Gillette Stadium that whomever we’re rooting for, we are all Patriots.”
As Boston.com reports, over 92,000 American servicemen and servicewomen have not been found. The seat was dedicated in their honor earlier in the week in a nod to Veteran’s Day.
The black seat is marked with a plaque that recognizes the POW’s and MIA’s. It is located above the south end zone.
The empty seat idea comes from the Massachusetts chapter of a group called Rolling Thunder, a veteran’s motorcycle group whose mission is “to educate, facilitate, and never forget . . . service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War”.
Rolling Thunder’s president, Joe D’Entremont, contacted the Kraft Group, which manages the park, to see if this was something they’d be willing to do. Rolling Thunder had previously dedicated an empty seat at LeLacheur Park, home of the minor league Lowell Spinners, in Lowell.