The Warren County United Veterans' Council conducted a "Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony" Friday, reminding local residents of the plight faced by Prisoners of War and those who are Missing in Action.
Warren County United Veterans' Council Chaplain and Master of Ceremonies Al Harrison delivered the invocation.
"We gather this evening to pay tribute to Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action," he said. "Please comfort the living and be merciful to those who have passed."
Photo by Colin Kyler
The Master of Ceremonies, Al Harrison, speaks at the “Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony” Friday.
Harrison also prayed for families to have the strength to keep waiting for their loved ones to return.
"Every veteran has our respect and admiration," he said. "We can't rest until we have a full accounting of all of them."
Warren County Commissioner Terry Hawk read a proclamation declaring the third Friday of September as POW/MIA recognition day.
"We set aside this day to remember those who have suffered and still do," he said. "We encourage county residents to remain mindful of those who wait to discover the fate of loved ones."
Hawk said the county encourages the United States government to continue its efforts to secure the return of service members.
"Warren County requests its citizens use the day for solemn contemplation of the plight of Prisoners of War and service members Missing in Action," he said.
Harrison explained the symbolism associated with the missing man table.
"The small table represents the frailty of prisoners against their captors," he said. "It's round to show our everlasting concern."
The table's six settings symbolize the five branches of service and citizens, Harrison said.
"The white tablecloth represents the purity of their intentions when answering the call of duty," he said. "The red rose in the vase is for the loved ones who keep the faith."
Harrison said the yellow ribbon tied around the vase symbolizes the continued determination to account for the missing.
"The slice of lemon on the bread plate is for the bitter fate of those who are missing," he said. "The salt represents the tears shed for them."
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith, Harrison said.
"The glass is inverted because they cannot toast," he said. "The chair is empty because they are missing."
Harrison said the candles represent a light of hope.
State Rep. Kathy Rapp said she felt honored to be invited to the ceremony.
"I hold in high regard and respect the time spent by and dedication of those who organize these gatherings so we never forget," she said.
Rapp said of all the veterans' ceremonies she attends, the "Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony" is the most solemn and endearing.
Harrison said the next veterans' ceremony in the county will be held at General Joseph Warren Park in Warren at 11 a.m. on November 11.