NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa., Nov. 9, 2017 —
In honor of America’s Missing in Action and Prisoners of War, DLA Distribution hosted a Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony. The ceremony, held Sept. 28 at DLA Distribution Headquarters in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, served to remind attendees that those missing are still present in spirit.
Once attendees gather inside the building’s cafeteria, emcee Army Master Sgt. Kevin Davis opened the ceremony by explaining the symbolism behind the table, also known as a “Fallen Comrade Table,” and its contents, saying “The table is reserved to honor our missing loved ones and comrades in arms set for one.”
Then, as “Amazing Grace” played quietly in the background, he explained that every item on the table served a purpose, from the white table cloth (symbolizing the purity of their motives), to the slice of lemon (a reminder of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land), to the candle (representing a light in the hearts of those illuminating the way home).
As Davis read the meaning of the items, the table was carefully arranged by Army Staff Sgt. William Fernandez, who then slowly saluted as attendees participated in a silent toast to the missing.
The tradition of the Missing Man Table dates back to the end of the Vietnam War and such memorials are commonly found in military dining facilities.