The POW/MIA Table

A Place Setting For One, A Table For All

Thursday afternoon the Veterans of Tanglewood hosted a 75th Anniversary in remembrance of D-Day. We heard the speech written by General Dwight DEisenhower to the troops before they left for Normandy. Of the thousands who battled in the war that literally changed the world. They were known as the Greatest Generation then, and still are to this day. Flags were posted, allegiance said, prayers offered, and plenty of food for all who attended.

But something else caught this writer’s attention. In front of the stage was a small table with a white table cloth, and an odd place setting with several items strategically placed. The empty chair had a POW Flag draped across the back. Army Veteran, John(Jack) Nelson told of the meaning for this decoration.

The tradition of setting a separate table in honor of our prisoners of war and missing comrade has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War. The manner in which this table is decorated is full of special symbols to help us remember our brothers and sisters in arms.

The POW/MIA table is separate from the others and can be set for one to four place settings to represent each service participating in the event.

The Table is smaller than the others symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her oppressors.

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 face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, but all who are not here with us.

The Round Table shows that our concern is 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 felt 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 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 Inverted Wine Glass reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities of the evening.

Thank you to the veterans who participated in the ceremony and those who helped to make it happen on such short notice.

There are words to a song about soldiers sacrifice during the war, ‘All paid some, but some paid all”.  Thank you to all of the veterans and families who made the sacrifice to hold on to moral values and beliefs, courage, truth, and most of all, the freedom we have today.  God Blessed America then. Yet, we’re fighting for these same truths still today.

Corrie ten Boom once said “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”. To those who lost their lives for our safety, the POW/MIA Table is a somber reminder to never forget.



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Pam Batey

Moved to Tanglewood in August 2016, with husband, Steve and dog, Maggie. Retired Paramedic, now continuing my hobby writing short stories and information in the "You and Your Health" Section of the newsletter. Active Member of Tanglewood Community Church.