Symbolic Gestures Can Be Quite Powerful

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Honoring American Heroes Veterans Day Breakfast, hosted by the Agua Fria High School District, the Avondale Elementary School District and the Litchfield Elementary School District.  There were about 250 people in attendance including 80 or so former and current members of the U.S. Military.

As expected, the colors were presented, the National Anthem was sung and the US Armed Forces Medley, a combination of the anthems of the various branches, was played.

And then there was something I had never seen before… the Missing Man Table.  Sometimes referred to as the “Fallen Comrade Table,” this symbolic gesture reminds us of those fallen, missing and imprisoned men and women of the U.S. Military.

Each item on the Missing Man Table represents the emotions and feelings reserved for those who did not come home.

  • The round table shows our everlasting and continuous concern for the fallen, missing and imprisoned.
  • The tablecloth is white as a demonstration of the purity of their motives.
  • A single red rose in a vase reminds us of the Americans and their loved ones who are still seeking answers.
  • The red ribbon is a symbol of the continued determination to account for the missing.
  • A lemon slice to remind us of their bitter fate – captured or missing.
  • A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears that are/were shed for our loved ones.
  • A lit candle to reflect the hope for their return.
  • A religious item to represent the strength gained from faith and the principle of One Nation Under G-d.
  • An inverted glass representing their inability to share a toast.
  • An empty chair.

The ceremony ended with the playing of Taps. It was a powerful tribute to those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to acknowledge their absence.

Thank you for your service.

Written by
at Nov 9, 2023

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