The Missing Soldier Table Protocol
29 SEP 2017
A general protocol, often called the POW/MIA Table Ceremony or Remembrance Ceremony, is used on ceremonial occasions to remember those soldiers who did not return from war but whose return is still hoped for.
1 Symbolism of the Table
The center of the remembrance ceremony is a small, unoccupied table. Each item on the table, as well as the table itself, has symbolic meaning. Following opening remarks, a recitation of the meaning of the symbols is a part of the ceremony.
2 Symbols of Purity, Sacrifice and Resolve
The table is small, signifying a soldier’s frailty against his captors. It is covered with a white tablecloth, denoting the purity of his intentions in responding to his country’s call. A single red rose in a vase signifies the blood he may have shed to ensure others' freedom. A red ribbon tied around the vase signifies unyielding resolve to get an accounting of all those who have not returned.
3 Symbols of Sorrow and Hope
Salt sprinkled on the plate represents the tears shed for the soldier. A slice of lemon on a plate represents the bitterness of her fate. An inverted wine glass serves as a reminder that she cannot join loved ones in toasts. A single burning candle represents the light of hope and an illumination to guide the way home.