For the second year, UW-Waukesha’s Student Veterans Association has established a Missing Man Table to honor members of the armed forces and civilians who are POW or MIA.
The table was erected the first week in May to coincide with the Memorial Day holiday, which honors men and women who have died while serving in the armed forces. It will be displayed near the Student Development office through Thursday, May 29.
The table features six place settings to pay tribute to each of the five branches of service and civilians, explained Robert Tyler, club treasurer. Each item on the table carries meaning.
“We’re all military and these are our brothers and sisters, or comrades, that are missing or unaccounted for, Tyler said. “We also hope to educate students here on the military and importance of Memorial Day.”
The following information about the Missing Man Table is provided by the Student Veterans Association:
This table is our way of symbolizing the frailty of our Armed Forces Members alone against his or her oppressors and representing all Americans still missing from our ranks from each of the five services – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard – as well as civilians.
These brave men and women answered our nations’ call and served the Cause of Freedom. They are referred to as POW’s (Prisoner of War) and MIA’s (Missing in Action). We call them “Brothers and Sisters”. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families… so we join together to pay humble tribute to them, and bear witness to their continued absence.
The TABLE is round – to show our everlasting concern for our men and women still missing.
The TABLECLOTH is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
The NAPKIN is black- Symbolizing the “dark hearts of some politicians” and other leaders who haven’t tried to bring our soldiers home and have forgotten them.
The SINGLE RED ROSE, displayed in a vase- reminds us of the lives of these missing Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith and await answers concerning their family member or friend.
The Vase is tied with a RED RIBBON – which is a symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. Although the ribbon has been temporarily broken, it is still firmly in our grasp and we will continue to search.
A SLICE of LEMON on the bread plate - reminds us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
A PINCH of SALT on the bread plate - symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families.
The BIBLE is placed prominently on the table-represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country.
The INVERTED GLASS seen at each place setting -The inverted glass symbolizes the POW/ or MIA inability to share a toast.
Their CHAIRS are tilted forward against the table – as though they are being saved for someone. The empty chair symbolizes that although these ones we recognized are missing, they are not forgotten.
The CANDLE is reminiscent of the Light of Hope – which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.
Remember – all of you who have served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, they have not forsaken you.
Those who have served and those currently serving in Branches of our United States Military are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice.
We are compelled then, 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, of deprivation, or of internment.