There is something relaxing about reading the newspaper on a Sunday morning. Maybe it's the slowed-down pace of the day and being able to shuffle about in our robes before heading off to church or to visit family. Today, along with the leisurely walk through the, comics, weather, and sports sections we might also think of a very significant date in history, particularly if it's anywhere near mid-morning at 11 a.m. It was at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that World War I ended nearly 100 years ago. Originally known as Armistice Day, this became a holiday to honor veterans and celebrate the end of World War I, the war to end all wars. First celebrated in 1919, it continued through the years and was eventually renamed Veterans Day to honor veterans of World War II and all other veterans of the military who have honorably served.
Today and tomorrow when many have off from work is an appropriate time to reflect on the sacrifices of these men and women, including POWs and MIAs. The virtual tour of the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum over the past several weeks has highlighted the lighthouse keeper's home, but the upstairs has rooms dedicated to each branch of the military. At the top of the stairs is a small, white table set with particular items. Most visitors pause there when they realize its significance; a reminder of those fellow Americans whose fate may still be unknown. While the origin of the "Small, White Table" is not certain, its meaning is clear and something for all to ponder as follows.
"We call your attention to this Small, Table which occupies a place of dignity and honor.
The Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum has the traditional “Small, White Table” to honor POW and MIA men and women.
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 their purity of 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 insure 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 on the vase represents the red ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination, a proper account 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 the families as they wait.
The Glass in 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 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 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."
Make it a good week and remember our MIA and POW Americans of the armed forces on Veterans Day and always.
#1 The Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum has the traditional "Small, White Table" to honor POW and MIA men and women.