At some of our events, at the request of the host, we will set one of the most symbolic and important tables of the entire affair. This special table is unlike any other. It will be not attended to by a guest but is meant to remember and honor the missing men and women of our country’s military. It is known by a few different names: The POW/MIA Table, The Missing Man’s Table and America’s White Table.
The tradition of setting a separate table in honor of these brave individuals has been in place since the Vietnam War. The manner in which this table is decorated is filled with special symbols that help us remember the men and women of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
The white tablecloth draped over the table represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms.
The empty chair depicts an unknown fate, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine, but all who are not here with us.
The table itself is round to show that our concern for them is never ending.
The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God.
The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends. A Purple Heart medal can be pinned to the napkin.
The single red rose reminds us of their families and loved ones. The red ribbon represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call.
The yellow candle and its yellow ribbon symbolizes the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet accounted for.
The slices of lemon on the bread plate remind us of their bitter fate.
The salt upon the bread plate represent the tears of their families.
The wine glass, turned upside down, reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink or toast or join in the festivities of the evening.
This Veteran’s Day we celebrate all of those who have served in the armed forces, as well as honor their comrades who may be missing-in-action.