The Somerset Patriots will be the first
professional sports team in New Jersey to dedicate a “Missing Man Chair” in
honor of the men and women who served America and did not return home.
The dedication will be part of the team’s Veterans of America Day on Sunday at the TD Bank Ballpark on East Main Street.
In partnership with the American Legion Riders Post 12 in Somerville, the Patriots have dedicated an area of the ballpark on the main concourse behind home plate for the tribute. The area will feature the “Missing Man Chair” and a plaque commemorating the sacrifices made by U.S. troops.
“The Missing Man Chair will serve as a reminder to our fans of the men and women who so bravely fought for our country and are missing in action or are prisoners of war. It is a tremendous honor for us to recognize these courageous individuals who are true Patriots,” said Patrick McVerry, president/general manager of the Patriots.
The ceremony will be at the conclusion of the Veterans of America Day ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 4:15 pm, when the Patriots, along with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 452, will honor veterans and current military personnel before the game against the Sugar Land Skeeters.
All veterans in attendance will be recognized for their service to the United States. The pre-game ceremony includes guests of honor Colonel Jack H. Jacobs and Specialist Four Andy Martin.
Col. Jacobs is a recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam and also has two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. He was in the U.S Army and was a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division. He also served as the Battalion Executive Officer in the 7th Infantry Division and a Battalion Commander for the 10th Infantry Regiment in Panama.
Specialist Four Martin is a Vietnam Veteran who served in the 2nd Battalion- 47th Infantry of the United States Army. He is the recipient of the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and two Army Commendations For Valor.
The ceremony will feature a Honor
Guard from Marine Corps League Hunterdon County Bulldogs and Vietnam Veterans
of America, Chapter 452 and The Rifle Squad from the Marine Corps League
Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone Detachment, a rifle salute, and Echo Taps. There
will also a reenactment of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima by Marines who have just returned from Iraq.
There will be a military fly-over with World War II planes and military vehicles around the ballpark for fans to view before the game. Military vehicles are also being provided for the event by Central Jersey Motor Pool.
All veterans will receive complimentary admission to the game.