Today, several veterans and myself joined other veterans and their families and friends at the VFW for a Thanksgiving dinner…no charge. They started with the singing of Star Spangled Banner, Pledge of Allegiance, and a ceremony for the POA/MIA with a table set for one…which the symbolism was explained. This was very moving to hear and watch.
At the end of this blog, I have a copy of the ceremony for the POA/MIA.
The dinner was very nice.. Turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetables and rolls. Pickles and olives on the table. Coffee served. They made up plates and served us…and then a choice of pies,and cookies… I had a molasses cookie with white choc chips… really good.
Below I have the service that started our meal at the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars)
Thanksgiving dinner. If was the first time I really heard the service due to a hearing loss.
I had put in a hearing enhancer (over the counter hearing appliance) and was filled with
gratitude for those whose company I was enjoying today.
The following is a suggested POW/MIA Remembrance Service to be used at American Legion meetings, banquets, luncheons or memorial gatherings in conjunction with the POW/MIA flag draped over an empty chair. The service can be adopted or modified appropriately. Members should remove their caps during this service.
Those who have served, and those currently serving in the uniformed services of the United States,
are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace
has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice.
We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures,
there are others who have endured
and may still be enduring the agonies of pain, deprivation and imprisonment.
Before we begin our activities, we pause to recognize our POWs and MIAs.
We call your attention to this small table
which occupies a place of dignity and honor.
It is set for one,
symbolizing the fact
that members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks.
They are referred to as POWs and MIAs.
We call them comrades.
They are unable to be with their loved ones and families,
so we join together to pay humble tribute to them,
and to bear witness to their continued absence.
The table is small,
symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner,
alone against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white,
symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their Country’s call to arms.
The single rose in the vase
signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice
to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.
This rose also reminds us
of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep faith,
while awaiting their return.
The red ribbon on the vase represents
an unyielding determination for a proper accounting of our comrades
who are not among us.
A slice of lemon on the plate
reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us
of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
The glass is inverted,
they cannot toast with us at this time.
The chair is empty. They are NOT here.
The candle is reminiscent
of the light of hope,
which lives in our hearts to illuminate
their way home, away from their captors,
to the open arms of a grateful nation.
The American flag reminds us
that many of them may never return –
and have paid the supreme sacrifice to insure our freedom.
Let us pray to the Supreme Commander
that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
Let us remember – and never forget their sacrifice.
May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.
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