POW/MIA Table Ceremony
The table displayed in the above photograph is a place of honor found in many VFW Post and other veteran organizations throughout this country. It represents a place that is solemnly held for those that have not yet returned from war. Each item on the table is symbolic of the trials of these missing veterans and is described in the audio narrative and in the script below. This ceremony has several forms and is traditionally recognized by veterans organizations on National POW/MIA Recognition Day occurring on the third Friday of September each year. The members of VFW Post 3377 Manchaca, Texas and it’s Ladies Auxiliary vow to uphold the motto of The National League of Families…”You Are Not Forgotten.”
VFW Post gratefully appreciates the assistance of Post member Bill Reesman and Ladies Auxiliary member Teen Reesman in the production of this page. The photo is donated and used with permission of Tamara Burkett.
The members of VFW Post 3377 and it’s Ladies Auxiliary wish to acknowledge and thank Department of Texas VFW State Commander John Spahr for his support in the narrative recording of this ceremony.
Table Ceremony Script
The table before you is 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! (ring bell)
The Tablecloth is white — Symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms. Remember! (ring bell)
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! (ring bell)
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! (ring bell)
The Candle, the candle is lit — Symbolizing the upward reach of their unconquerable spirit. Remember! (ring bell)
A Slice of Lemon is on the bread plate to remind us of their bitter fate. Remember! (ring bell)
There is Salt upon the bread plate — Symbolic of the families tears as they wait. Remember! (ring bell)
The Glass is inverted — They cannot toast with us this night. Remember! (ring bell)
The Chair — The chair is empty. They are not here. Remember! (ring bell)
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! (ring bell)
Remember! — Until the day they come home, Remember! (ring bell)