Ceremonies will be held across the country Sept. 20 to commemorate the sacrifices of the missing and their families on the 2013 National POW/MIA Recognition Day. This ceremony takes place each year on the third Friday in September.
The National POW/MIA Recognition Day honors those still missing from the nation’s past wars and conflicts, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, whose remains have not yet been recovered and returned home, according to Meyer.
The 2013 poster depicts the Missing Man Table, a tradition started more than 40 years ago to honor the missing.
There is special significance to each item displayed on the table. All of the missing – from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and the Air Force – are represented at the table. The table shows everlasting concern. The table cloth is white symbolizing the purity of the service member’s motives when answering the call to duty.
A single red rose is displayed in a vase as a reminder of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith while seeking answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon symbolizing the continued determination to account for them. A slice of lemon is a reminder of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
The salt symbolizes the tears shed by the missing and their families who long for answers to end years of uncertainty. The lighted candle reflects hope for their return to their families and the nation. The inverted glass symbolizes the servicemen’s inability to share an evening toast.
“The chair is empty – they are missing,” Meyer said. “Keeping the promise – they are not forgotten.”