POW/MIA Chair of Honor dedicated at Proctors

SCHENECTADY—Schenectady County Veterans Service Agency Director William H. Frank; Rolling Thunder® Chapter 5 President Tracey Gecewicz; Schenectady Mayor Gary R. McCarthy; Albany Symphony Orchestra Music Director David Alan Miller; Proctors Collaborative CEO Philip Morris; Patriot Guard Riders New York Captain Bill Schaaf and members of his organization; Congressman Paul Tonko and others joined Tuesday to dedicate a POW/MIA Chair of Honor at Proctors.

The chair, placed in the balcony of the historic theatre, will remain perpetually empty, reminding all who visit Proctors that even though our soldiers may not be with us, we always hold a space for them.

Morris thanked Schaaf for bringing the chair, dressed and draped in a ceremonial sleeve, to Proctors.

Congressman Tonko (NY 20th District) said, “A POW/MIA Chair of Honor signifies so much, not just as we commemorate Veterans Day, but always. It is important to recognize our absent service members, and to thank them, and their families, for their sacrifice.”

Schaaf, surrounded by flag-bearing members of the Patriot Guard Riders, has been instrumental in raising awareness of POW/MIA throughout the region; he acknowledged honored guests and fellow veterans, including Frank, who said, “Thank you, Proctors. This is a wonderful reminder of our missing brothers and sisters, some of whom may still be held as Prisoners of War.”

In a statement, Angelo Santabarbara (111th New York State Assembly District), an eight-year United States Army Reservist, said, “Today’s dedication of a POW/MIA Chair of Honor in Schenectady symbolizes our resolve to never forget American Prisoners of War and those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. Its placement at Proctors will ensure it is seen by many and be a permanent sign of hope.”

McCarthy called the event, “an important milestone in bringing light to POW/MIA issues in Schenectady and throughout the region.”

Miller will conduct an Albany Symphony Orchestra Armistice Centennial performance of Britten’s War Requiem Saturday at Proctors. Appropriately, it will be the first use of the MainStage following the dedication.

“We are humbled,” said Miller, “and will keep a place in our hearts as we perform for our missing soldiers.”