By Jenna Fear
A ceremony was held at the Hawk Point VFW Memorial Post 7560 on Friday, Sept. 21 to honor POWs and MIAs, members of the United States armed forces that remain missing from the ranks. Friday was National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
The ceremony began with the Honor Guard, made up of Tom Hamilton and Mike Bruner, marching to the table where Commander Jim Booth stood near the flagpole at the VFW Post. On the table were a small display and a POW/MIA flag.
Jim Booth read from a pamphlet a note in memoriam of those missing from the ranks. He said one thing that strikes him in particular is the age of many POW/MIAs at the time they went missing. Many were just young people who did not yet know what it was to have a family or children. Booth said thinking of this makes him feel even more grateful that he has been able to have his own family and watch them grow.
On the table where booth stood sat the display of the traditional POW/MIA table, a symbol regularly seen at military banquets and ceremonies. The different elements of the table are symbolic of several things in honor of POW/MIAs.
The table is small to show the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her oppressors. The white tablecloth represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms. The empty chair symbolizes an unknown face, representing not one person specifically, but all soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines that can’t be with us. A single red rose in a vase reminds us of their families and loved ones, and the red ribbon represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call. The yellow candle and its ribbon signify everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet accounted for. The lemon slice reminds us of the bitter fate of the one’s we’ve lost, and the inverted wine glass is a reminder of comrades who cannot be there to toast.
Booth directed the audience to take a moment for prayer and silence, and attendees stood with bowed heads in reflection.