With symbol and ritual we remember the loved ones who have been left behind. With the Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony, we can reach out to honor our nation's unaccounted for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.
The POW MIA Remembrance Ceremony
As you entered the post home, you may have noticed a small table in a place of honor. It is set for one. This table is our way of symbolizing the fact that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst. They are commonly called POWs or MIAs, we call them "Brothers." They are unable to be with us this evening and so we remember them.
This Table set for one is small -- Symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his oppressors. Remember!
The Tablecloth is white -- Symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms. Remember!
The single Red Rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep the faith awaiting their return. Remember!
The Red Ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn upon the lapel and breasts of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our missing. Remember!
The Candle, the candle is lit -- Symbolizing the upward reach of their unconquerable spirit. Remember!
A Slice of Lemon is on the bread plate to remind us of their bitter fate. Remember!
There is Salt upon the bread plate -- Symbolic of the families tears as they wait. Remember!
The Glass is inverted -- They cannot toast with us this night. Remember!
The Chair -- The chair is empty. They are not here. Remember!
Remember! -- All of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not forsaken you. Remember!
Remember! -- Until the day they come home, Remember!
TABLE SET UP:
1. A small, round bistro table
2. White tablecloth
3. Single place setting, preferably all white
4. Wine glass - inverted
5. Salt shaker
6. Slice of lemon on bread plate with a pile of spilled salt
7. Small bud vase with a single stem red rose
8. RED ribbon tied around the vase
9. Candle - lit
10. Empty chair