We had a great meeting last Thursday evening at the Hut. Between vacations, weather, and all kinds of distractions it was pretty nice getting the gang together. We also had a new member join in. Welcome aboard Ricky Butler (US Army veteran)! Our Commander Charles O’Leary showcased his and Nancy’s annual trip to Sacaton, AZ honoring the USMC, at the Ira Hayes/Iwo Jima Memorial Parade and Ceremony on the Pima Indian Reservation. It was pretty colorful and the background scenery was pretty dynamic given the beauty of the Arizona mountains and desert.
We had a brief discussion about our continuance of a special ceremony remembering our missing or captured soldiers in arms and how we need to make it a regular occurrence. If you spot a special table with particular items displayed with the POW/MIA emblem you may want to know the significance of the items on that table.
The items are considered traditional. Some commands and units may place The Missing Man Table, in a place of honor, set up in military dining facilities of the U.S. armed forces and during occasions such as service branch birthday balls, in memory of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service-members. The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of US concern of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue.
The missing man table is traditionally part of military dining-in ceremonies and service balls. When presented in a dining-in or service ball, a narration given to the audience explains the symbolism of each item. The practice of the missing man table has evolved over time and is not currently governed by any US Department of Defense or service-specific guidance.
These are the items are that are considered traditional. Table: set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one isolated prisoner. The table is usually set close to, or within sight of, the entrance to the dining room. Table is round to represent everlasting concern on the part of the survivors for their missing loved ones.
- Tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.
- Single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood that many have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.
- Yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.
- Slice of lemon on the bread plate: represents the bitter fate of the missing.
- Salt sprinkled on the bread plate: symbolic of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
- Inverted glass: represents the fact that the missing and fallen cannot partake.
- Lit candle: reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.
- Empty chair: the missing and fallen aren’t present.
As mentioned earlier a somber presentation accompanies the ceremony as all are asked to stand and observe.
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM (except 6:00 PM dinner on April 7th). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in March and April are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the temperatures hit freezing. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.