On the banks of the Tennessee River sits one of the most iconic landmarks in college football, Neyland Stadium, home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers. The seating capacity of 102,037 has grown by one, but it is a seat that will always be empty. That’s right, no one will ever sit in that additional seat added recently, as it was placed to honor the greatest of all Volunteers…The United States of America Veterans.
The chair located in section ZZ12 with an expansive view of the stadium will remain vacant, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. “This unoccupied chair is in honor of the brave men and women who are still Prisoners of War or Missing in Action and symbolizes there will always be a place in Neyland Stadium awaiting their return. We are thankful. You will not be forgotten.” is the wording found on the plaque placed at the newly installed POW/MIA Chair of Honor.
Since World War II, more than 82,000 soldiers are unaccounted for. There are four Tennessee football lettermen, Clyde Fuson, Rudy Klarer, Bill Nowling and Willis Tucker, who made that ultimate sacrifice in World War II. It is a clear view from the POW/MIA Chair of Honor of their names and retired numbers already placed in honor at Neyland Stadium. Tennessee Athletics’ history of military appreciation is vast, including sending care packages, flags and signed items to active military overseas, armed forces conducting ceremonies during athletic events and the “Salute to Service” events for active military, veterans and military families.
The University of Tennessee is believed to be the first university in the state to dedicate a POW/MIA seat. Two chairs nearby will be used by specially selected “Volunteer of
the Game” at each home football game,
a new tradition that started at the game against Florida.
The combined effort of Tennessee Athletics, UT Student Government and the Veterans Resource Center has resulted in
a crown jewel, significant place of honor, remembrance and pride at the University of Tennessee Neyland Stadium. Go Vols!
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