Community News

Missing Man Table

by: Pat Fusco
Posted: March 22, 2018

BUENA PARK...Patriotism runs deep through the heart of Elkdom as the members work to support our nations Veterans. Whether it means cooking spaghetti dinners for them, celebrating with them on Veterans Day, singing Karaoke with them, participating in parades or simple visits at the various Veteran’s Hospitals and other facilities, Veterans will be honored as long as there are Elks.

A new and permanent addition to the Buena Park Elks Lodge #2046, Buena Park, CA, is the “Missing Man Table”. When you visit the Lodge, take a moment to remember those who have not returned home to our hearts and lodges.

*The Missing Man Table, is a place of honor, set up in military dining facilities of the U.S. armed forces and during occasions such as service branch birthday balls, in memory of fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service-members, reminding them of the service and commitment they share and the sacrifices that others have made going before them. The table serves as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance, originally growing out of U.S. concern of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue.

The table is set in a symbolic way.

Table set for one, the empty chair represents Americans who were or are missing from each of the services—Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard—and civilians, all with us in spirit. All Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served the cause of freedom in a special way.

The table is round—to show our everlasting concern.

The cloth is white—symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.

The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these American….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers.

The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families—who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return—alive or dead.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted—to symbolize their inability to share a toast.

The chair is empty—they are missing.

The Missing Man Table is a vibrant way to remind everyone, both military and civilian, that there are still unaccounted for Americans from past wars. Although the origin of the Missing Man Table cannot be verified, one thing rings true, there are a lot of people who care passionately about this issue and want to do whatever they can so these service members are never forgotten. Photo:BuenaParkElks

*Excerpts were taken from the internet.

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