It was a beautiful summer Friday night at the ballpark. The crowd at Frawley Stadium in Delaware was festive…and why not? A nice evening of Carolina League baseball with fireworks to follow should put a smile on the face of any red-blooded American. The Winston-Salem Dash (Advanced-A White Sox) were in town to take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Advanced-A Royals). With great weather and atmosphere, most of the seats were filled. One chair however was empty for sure. It always is. By design.
The seat is located on the third base concourse. It’s roped off and sits right under a special plaque. This seat isn’t for sale. This seat is dedicated to our true American heroes.
The Blue Rocks partnered with Rolling Thunder Inc. to dedicate an open chair to U.S. POWs and those who have gone missing in action. The silver and black plaque above the chair sums things up beautifully.
It reads: “You are not forgotten. Since World War I, more than 92,000 American soldiers are unaccounted for. This unoccupied seat is dedicated to the memory of those brave men and women and to the sacrifices each made in serving our country. God Bless You. God Bless America.”
It is reassuring to see Wilmington showing such appreciation for our service members. The Blue Rocks get it. Baseball is our pastime, a distraction. Our men and women in uniform make real sacrifices to protect our freedom and liberty.
Earlier this season when the club dedicated the seat and plaque, dozens of veterans were on hand with their motorcycles to show their support. They rode their bikes onto the field. About a dozen Wounded Warriors were also present.”
The Blue Rocks are proud to have been able to host such a moving ceremony honoring America’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action,” said assistant general manager Andrew Layman. “Showing support for those who have served our country is very important to all of us in the Blue Rocks organization. The newly-dedicated chair on the third-base concourse will remain empty in honor of those who have paid the ultimate price. We would like to thank Patrick Hughes of Rolling Thunder Inc.’s Pennsylvania chapter for spearheading this project and Hussey seating for manufacturing the seat at cost.”
Frawley Stadium is the only location in all of Delaware to have dedicated an empty seat to missing servicemen and servicewomen. That’s significant.
“Without our military, many of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans would be in jeopardy,” Layman said. “At the Blue Rocks, we always try to honor those who have fought so hard to protect our country in any way that we can. Dedicating Delaware’s first vacant seat honoring America’s prisoners of war and those who are missing in action was the right thing to do.”
People are taking notice. Kids walking by the special seat could be heard asking their parents why it was empty. It starts a dialogue. Little patriots learn to love their exceptional country even more. All while eating Cracker Jacks and enjoying baseball.
A simple gesture with monumental meaning. The Wilmington Blue Rocks hit it out of the park with this one.