Guideline Series: Resources
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The Lone Sailor Table - Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA)
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The small table at the front of the mess has been placed there to honor our POW/MIAs. The items on the table represent various aspects of the courageous men and women still missing. The table can be set for one of four - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force -- with or without hats.
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The table is smaller than the others symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against their oppressors.
The white tablecloth represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms.
The empty chair depicts an unknown face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman, but all who are not here with us.
The table is round to show that our concern for them is never-ending.
The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God.
The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends.
The single red rose 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 yellow ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet unaccounted for.
The slices of lemon on the bread plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt upon the bread plate represents the tears of their families.
The wine glass turned upside down reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities this evening.
from “Social Usage and Protocol Handbook, OPNAVINST 1710.7A”