It may seem like a small gesture, but it is a meaningful one. Sandown’s town hall has a new, empty chair dedicated to American soldiers who remain missing in action or who were or may still be prisoners of war.

The chair is flanked by the American and POW/MIA flags. It will be in a spot just outside the selectmen’s office, for all to see.

Like the unoccupied place-setting at other military events, and also seen at some weddings of servicemen and women, the empty chair display is a reminder of what our military members put on the line for the rest of us. Some from past conflicts remain missing in action, possibly never to be recovered.

During the Vietnam conflict, the POW issue was an open, persistent wound for many Americans. Constant pressure, by their families and friends and many of their countrymen, helped immeasurably in the Nixon administration’s finally succeeding in bringing them home from the dungeons of Hanoi.

Remembering our past is important to our future. Congratulations to Sandown for understanding that. Congrats to Rolling Thunder, Inc., the Sandown Republican Committee, Selectman Tom Tombarello, and Chief of Police Joseph Gordon, among others, for their efforts in making this happen.