By Jim Clark
Local veterans, public officials, and members of the general public gathered at City Hall last Friday for the dedication ceremony placing a chair in remembrance of prisoners of war or service members who are missing in action.
Several of those in attendance spoke of the sacrifices made by those who served their country and the need for continued awareness of those who remain missing or whose remains have never been recovered.
Somerville resident, Peter P. Fantasia attended the ceremony. Fantasia received the Silver Star for his action on Nov.12, 1944. Fantasia served as an aid man attached to Company L, Yankee Division during the initial attack by the German army and the subsequent capture of Rodalbe, France. His company suffered causalities under heavy enemy fire, but technician Fantasia provided medical care and comfort to his wounded comrades during every assault, risking his life to do so. When their evacuation was ordered, he refused to leave his badly wounded comrades. This refusal led to his being taken as a prison of war of the German Army. He was held until April 28, 1945 when he was liberated by the Russian army. The Corner of Boston and Hamlet Streets in Somerville are dedicated to Fantasia.
The chair, which is to remain empty as a symbol of those who are missing, is placed nearby an American flag, a black MIA-POW flag, and a commemorative plaque reading, “You are not forgotten.”