They are missing Each year American Legion Commander Jim Fink points to me and says, “Will you read the Empty Chair” for us? I smile, nod and think to myself ... “It’s my honor.”
If you haven’t heard it before, it goes something like this: “The table is round — to show our everlasting concern for our missing men. The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.
A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted — to symbolize their inability to share this toast.
The chairs are empty — they are missing.”
The reality ... I can hardly read this salute without getting chocked up, or a tear in my eye. After all, I knew some of those missing. My old college roommate went off to the war in Vietnam.
I never saw him again! My company commander, a “Ranger”, moved on to another unit. He never came back. Every time I look at that little table, I see the eyes of my friends staring back at me — friends I’ll never see again.
This Memorial Day, make a special effort to take in a service.
Right here in Minneota a beautiful ceremony will be held in Veteran’s Park to dedicate the new memorial. It will be lit up like never before. Take in the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Museum on main street. It will be open.
Visit Taunton for their annual morning celebration. Whatever you do — honor the veterans. I can still see them before my very eyes.
But they are not coming back. I was one of the lucky ones. I came home. Many others died for their country .... some were captured and never returned. Be grateful — we are free — forever free. But a price was paid — and it was a mighty high price.
LAUGH A LITTLE: What’s replacing what? The Internet isn’t replacing Television as fast as its replacing Homework!
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:
As my Ole Pappy used to say, “We judge ourselves by what we are capable of doing. Others judge us by what we have done.”
Good philosophy. Thanks Ole Pappy!