MISSING MAN TABLE and HONORS
POW/MIA Table Picture courtesy of Chris Rich,
Son of Navy Capt. Richard Rich, who went MIA in 1967. Capt.
Rich was repatriated home to the U.S. November 2002.
As you entered the dining area, you may
have noticed a table at the front,
raised to call your attention to its purpose -- it is reserved to honor our missing loved ones [or missing comrades in arms, for veterans].
Set for six, the empty places represent
Americans still [our men] missing from each of the five services -- Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast
Guard – and civilians. This Honors Ceremony symbolizes that they are with
us, here in spirit.
Some [here] in this room were very young
when they were sent into combat; however, all Americans should never forget the brave men and women who
answered our nation's call [to serve] and served the cause of freedom in a
I would like to ask you to stand, and
remain standing for a moment of silent prayer, as the Honor Guard places the five service covers and a civilian cap
on each empty plate.
Honor Guard: (In silence or with
dignified, quiet music as background, the Honor Guard moves into position around the table and simultaneously places
the covers of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, and a civilian hat, on the dinner plate at each table setting. The Honor Guard then
Please be seated ....... I would like to
explain the meaning of the items on this special table.
The table is round -- to show our
everlasting concern for our missing men.
The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing
the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
The single red rose, displayed in a
vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the[ir] loved ones and
friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.
The vase is tied with a red ribbon,
symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.
A slice of lemon on the bread plate is
to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears
endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
The Bible represents the strength gained
through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation
The glass is inverted -- to symbolize
their inability to share this evening's [morning’s/day’s] toast.
The chairs are empty -- they are
Let us now raise our water glasses in a
toast to honor America's POW/MIAs and to the success of our efforts to account
Courtesy of the NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES OF AMERICAN PRISONERS AND MISSING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: In accordance
with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is
distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed
a prior interest in receiving the included information for nonprofit research
and educational purposes only. [ Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
I am in the process of researching the origins of The Missing Man Table
and Honors Ceremony and will publish my findings here...once completed!