“Those who have served and those currently serving in the uniformed services of the United States, are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured and may still be enduring the agonies of pain, deprivation and imprisonment.
As part of the annual Veteran’s Day celebration, we pause to recognize our POWs and MIAs.
A small table is set in remembrance, and it occupies a place of dignity and honor.
It is set for ONE, symbolizing the fact that a member of our armed services is missing from our ranks. They are referred to as our POWs and MIAs.
We call them Comrades. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families. We join together today to pay humble tribute to them and to bear witness to their continued absence.
The table is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her oppressors.
The tablecloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their Country’s call to arms.
The single rose in the vase signifies the blood they may 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 faith, while awaiting their return.
The red ribbon on the vase represents an unyielding determination for a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us.
A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
The glass is inverted, they cannot toast with us at this time.
The chair is empty. They are not here.
The candle is 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 nation.
The American flag reminds us that many of them may never return and have paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom.
Let us pray to the Supreme Commander that all our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
Let us always remember and never forget their sacrifice.
May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.”