PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Hall has an unusual new accessory — but one with a somber purpose.
Mayor Jim Kenney, city council members and Congressman Bob Brady joined local veterans Monday for the ceremonial unveiling of a chair.
The chair was empty, and will remain so, but it carries the weight of memorializing those captured by the enemy or lost forever in combat: A Prisoner of War-Missing in Action chair.
A local vet started the project of placing the chairs in public places more than a year ago. There’s one at the Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Mayor Kenney says he wanted one in his reception room.
“As we lose our World War II veterans, as we lose our Korea veterans, as we lose our Vietnam veterans, the oral history and our ability to interact with those folks directly is lost,” Kenney said. “And the worst thing we can do as a nation and as a people is to forget that sacrifice.”
Former POW Ralph Galati says being remembered was the secret to survival.
“It’s about faith in yourself, your family, your country, your God, your prison mates, and that’s what sustains us,” Galati said. “To all of you living by the creed, you will not be forgotten. God Bless you!”