Never forgotten: Georgetown dedicates POW-MIA Chair of Honor

POW MIA chair and plaque

The Town of Georgetown Monday dedicated its POW-MIA Chair of Honor located in a fenced memorial outside Town Hall on The Circle.

GEORGETOWN – Approximately 92,000 American soldiers remain unaccounted for, dating back to World War I

On The Circle, an “empty chair” stands as a memorial whose aim is to ensure that those who are missing are never forgotten.

POW MIA kooopman saluting

Korean War veteran Walter Koopman, U.S. Army Sgt./Maj. (Ret.), salutes during the dedication of the POW-MIA Chair of Honor.

Monday night, on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the Town of Georgetown dedicated its POW-MIA Chair of Honor located outside Town Hall.

“Recognition …,” said Korean War veteran Walter Koopman of Millsboro, who served with the U.S. Army. “Some came back a different person and some didn’t come back at all. And I know a few of those; you still think about that.”

Vietnam veteran Roger Rabbitt stood motionless in saluting the empty chair during the playing of “Taps” by David Allwood.

“Our generation, we don’t forget anybody else. That is our motto,” said Mr. Rabbitt. “We can’t sit by and let this stuff be forgotten.”

The Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 1/Sussex County Honor Guard performed the presentation of colors.

“We honor this chair every meeting; once a month, before the meeting starts,” said Millsboro resident Ed Johnson, an Army/Air Force veteran and KWVA Chapter 1 member.

This is the fourth Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action Chair of Honor memorial in Delaware and first in Sussex County. The others: Frawley Stadium in New Castle County and Dover International Speedway and Legislative Hall in Kent County.

POW MIA elected officials YUK

From left, Georgetown councilmen Dave Anderson and Steve Hartstein, Korean War veteran Walter Koopman, State Rep. Ruth Briggs King, Georgetown Mayor Bill West, State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn and town councilwoman Chris Lecates at the POW-MIA Chair of Honor dedication.

Elected officials on hand for the Dec. 7 ceremony included: State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, who served as Master of Ceremonies; State Rep. Ruth Briggs King; Sussex County Councilman Rob Arlett; Georgetown Mayor Bill West and town council members Chris Lecates, Steve Hartstein and Dave Anderson, who relayed information and the idea for the memorial from his wife, Patricia.

“She actually worked at Legislative Hall when they did their dedication and she gave me that information. I brought it to Town Hall and to town council and everyone said they thought it was a great idea,” said Mr. Anderson, who thanked Georgetown Town Clerk Angie Townsend for leading “the charge” in making the memorial a reality.

The chair was obtained through Hussey Seating. Nanticoke Fence provided the fencing around the memorial. Georgetown’s public works department did the stone landscaping.

“As I look around I see a lot of veterans. So, from the council and myself, thank you very much for your service,” said Georgetown Mayor Bill West. “It means a lot. As I walk around this great country or drive around this great country and I see people with the hats or the coats showing the military, it’s a sense of pride that I know you have wearing that uniform.”

“We’re just a small town,” Mayor West added. “We’re not Gillette Stadium. We’re not Daytona Beach. But we can honor people just like everybody else.”

POW MIA mcmenamin and roger rabbitt

Military veterans Matt McMenamin, left, of New Castle and Roger Rabbitt of Bridgeville share a solemn moment during the playing of “Taps” at the POW-MIA Chair of Honor dedication in Georgetown.

“Appropriate for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day this chair recognizes there are still POW-MIA’s from every war our nation has been involved with,” Mr. Anderson said.

Rev. Michael Williams of the Georgetown Presbyterian Church delivered the invocation.

“God, we gather today in remembrance and gratitude for those who have sacrificed so very much to make this world a safe and secure place for all humanity,” said Rev. Williams. “We gather today to affirm that those who remain unaccounted in our world are fully known to you. We gather today to dedicate ourselves to the promise that these missing will never be forgotten and to dedicate the memorial to this solemn promise. May those who pass this Chair of Honor in the days to come be reminded of those to whom this space is dedicated.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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