The Missing Man Table Ceremony is generally done at banquets, dinners, or any other occasions where setting up a dinner table would appear appropriate. The reason for this ceremony is to acknowledge the inability of our missing or fallen soldiers to be with us in the celebrations we hold, because they have perished or been left behind... and to honor their sacrifice for this country.
This is a very moving ceremony, and It symbolizes that they are with us in spirit.
The Missing Man Table is reserved to honor those missing from each of the five services...Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard – and civilians. The table is set with the following items:
-The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.
-The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
-The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.
-The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.
-A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured, missing, or perished in a foreign land.
-A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
-The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
-The glass is inverted -- to symbolize their inability to share this day’s toast.
-The chairs are empty -- they are missing.
Wherever you celebrate today, take a moment to raise a glass to honor America's brave men and women who answered the call to duty, and gave the ultimate sacrifice... their lives.