In honor of the missing manAlan Kadrmas, an employee at SolarBee, has set up a Missing Man Table in the company’s entryway to observe for Veterans Day.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Alan Kadrmas, an employee at SolarBee, has set up a Missing Man Table in the company’s entryway to observe for Veterans Day.
“It’s to remember those missing in action,” he said.
Kadrmas learned about the tradition while serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era. Stationed in England, he would see the tables in pubs.
The exact origins of the small, white table are unclear. It was thought to have originated during the Vietnam War by a group of U.S. military pilots who called themselves the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association — otherwise known as the River Rats.
Pilots, returning from missions, would buy themselves a drink and place a second drink on the table in memory of a missing fellow pilot, Kadrmas said.
The table, also known as the POW/MIA Table and Remembrance Table, serves to express the nation’s gratitude to those Americans who answered the nation’s call to arms, but whose fate was or is unknown.
Kadrmas set the table with hats symbolizing the five military branches.
The white covering is symbolic of a pure heart with which American soldiers serve their country. The empty chair symbolizes their sacrifices.
There is at least one inverted drinking glass and a white bread plate that holds a slice of lemon and grains of salt. The glass, lemon and salt represent the meal that captive soldiers will not be receiving, their bitter fates and the tears of loved ones who wait for their return.
The rose symbolizes the soldiers’ loved ones who wait for their return.
“I set it up on Memorial Day and the third Friday of September, which is POW/MIA Day and Veterans Day,” he said.