The newly renovated Nassau Coliseum will honor 9/11 victims, the military and Long Island first responders with eight seats that will remain permanently unfilled when the arena reopens on April 5, Newsday reports.
The empty seats will be dedicated to Prisoners of War/Missing in Action members of the armed forces, each military branch, police, firefighters and emergency service members and the “nearly 500 Long Islanders who died in the Sept. 11 attacks,” according to Newsday (paywall-protected link).
The seats, which will be spread across the Coliseum, will display a logo of the unit or entity being honored. Coliseum officials told Newsday that the seats will “stay in an upright position and a railing in front of each chair will prevent members of the public from sitting on them.”
Paul Masi, past president of the Nassau County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, shared the idea of devoting a chair to POW/MIA members of the military with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and the Nassau Events Center extended the dedications across the military, first responders and local victims of Sept. 11.
“This is the right thing to do,” Masi told Newsday. “People don’t always stop to think about these things but maybe these chairs will make sure they remember.”
The open seats are “a respectful memorial to those who made the supreme sacrifice, those who remain missing in action and all those who answered the call of our nation,” Mangano told Newsday.
By 9/11 Memorial Staff