House Vets committee to honor POW/MIA troops

WASHINGTON — Finding an extra chair at congressional hearings can be a challenge this time of year, but the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee wants to permanently set aside one seat in honor of those who can’t be there.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., will announce plans on Thursday to display an empty chair draped with the POW/MIA flag at all future committee hearings, in remembrance of those servicemembers. The announcement will come as the committee takes testimony from military advocate groups, including the American Ex-Prisoners of War.

In a statement Tuesday, Miller said the empty chair “is to be a constant reminder to all who visit … that we have more than 83,000 servicemembers who remain unaccounted for from conflicts around the world in which America defended liberty.”

He added that the gesture will also show lawmakers “pride and gratitude” for those who have served.

The seat, which will be located behind the witness table in view of broadcast cameras, will be set up for the first time at the Thursday hearing.

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