Missing Man Table
The Missing Man Table set up includes a small, round bistro table, a white tablecloth, a single place setting, an inverted wine glass, a salt shaker, a slice of lemon on a bread plate with a pile of spilled salt, a bible, a small bud vase with a RED ribbon tied around it containing a single long stem red rose, a lit candle, and an empty chair.
- Table is round to represent everlasting concern on the part of the survivors for their missing loved ones.
- Tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.
- Single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood that many 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 the faith, while awaiting their return.
- The red ribbon (yellow ribbon for Air Force ceremonies) represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call.
- Slice of lemon on the bread plate: represents the bitter fate of the missing.
- Salt sprinkled on the bread plate: symbolic of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
- Inverted glass: represents the fact that the missing and fallen cannot partake.
- The Bible represents the spiritual strength and faith to sustain those lost from our country. (However, the bible is being removed from tables to prevent alienating service members who are not Christian and to avoid the government endorsing any one religion over another.)
- Lit candle: 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.
- Empty chair: the missing and fallen aren’t present.
Chair of Honor
The POW/MIA Empty Chair is a symbol of the thousands of American Servicemen and Servicewomen who became Prisoners of War or who are Missing in Action. Some are buried in foreign countries in unmarked graves, while some died gruesome deaths that destroyed all evidence of their life, and many were buried at sea. The Chair of Honor is a reminder that they have not been forgotten.
Rolling Thunder®, Inc. is a class 501(c) (4) non-profit organization with over ninety chartered chapters throughout the United States including three in Illinois. While many members of Rolling Thunder®, Inc. are veterans and many ride motorcycles, neither qualification is a prerequisite. Rolling Thunder®, Inc. members are old and young, men and women, veterans and non-veterans. All are united in the cause to bring full accountability for the Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action (POW/MIA) of all wars, reminding the government, the media and the public by our watchwords: “We Will Not Forget.”