Rolling Thunder®, Inc., Indiana, the Indianapolis Colts
& Lucas Oil Stadium
Dedicate a Prisoner of War (POW)/Missing in Action (MIA)
'Chair of Honor'
This special chair was placed in the Lucas Oil Stadium in honor of those American heroes that went off to War but yet to return home. They may be still lying on the battle field, or they may be in the hands of our enemies, we don’t know, they are Unaccounted-For. Their remains have not been recovered, their whereabouts are unknown. These American heroes are Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA).
Since World War II, approximately 82,000 Service Members are still listed as Unaccounted-For nationwide. Indiana alone has 1,529 MIAs from WWII, 183 from the Korean War, and 51 from the Vietnam War. We must continue to remind our Government to never stop searching for our Service Members that are listed as Unaccounted-For from all wars. They took the oath to defend our Nation, and they were promised to be brought home and not left on foreign soil. That promise must be upheld.
Rolling Thunder®, Inc., Indiana would like to express our gratitude to those individuals and organizations which helped make the POW/MIA 'Chair of Honor' mission a success. We were overwhelmed by the number of people who came out to Lucas Oil Stadium on November the 2nd to share in the dedication ceremony. These proud Americans came to Indianapolis from throughout the Midwest and ranged in age from 5 to 97. Among those special guests were Former POWs from World War II and Korea, veterans who’ve fought for our freedoms as far back as World War II, active duty service members, and of course the numerous family members proudly representing our heroes from Indiana who never came home. Every moment is a blessing, and we’re honored that they shared those precious few with us.
Guest speakers for the ceremony were Representative Jim Baird; Mr James Brown, Director of Veterans Affairs to Governor Mike Pence; Mr Carlos May, Senior Executive Policy Advisor to Mayor Ballard; Mayor Dean Jessup, Mayor of Lawrence, Indiana; Mr Chuck Layton, Former Korean War POW and author of “Escaped with Honor”; Mr Josh Bleill, Community Spokesman for the Indianapolis Colts, Marine and Wounded Warrior; and Mrs Linda Smith-Cope, RTIN1 member and sister of SFC Ronald Eugene Smith - still listed as MIA from the Vietnam War. Their messages were strong, solemn and true and we appreciate their willingness to share them with us. In the words of our own Linda Cope, "This chair is sacred. It is solemn. It is recognition and it is respect”. Indeed, “God Bless America.”
Mr Jim Smith & Mrs Linda Smith-Cope
Brother and sister of SFC Ronald Eugene Smith
(MIA, 28 Nov 1970)
Mrs Billie Bridenthal
Niece of PVT Fred Everett Freet
(MIA, 20 Nov 1943)
Mr Robert Vollmer, WWII US Navy
Brother of CPL Daniel Leo Vollmer
(MIA, 20 Nov 1943)
(Additional photos from the event can be found here.)
Our thanks to the Indianapolis Colts also for sharing the unveiling of the POW/MIA 'Chair of Honor', and to WTHR-TV 13 and WISH-TV 8 for sharing the dedication ceremony with so many who were unable to attend in person. (If videos do not appear, click here to see them on our YouTube page.)