Commander: "Those who have served and those currently serving
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."
Vice Commander: "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 and internment."
Commander: "Tonight we have honored guests who can not be with us so we remember
them in this way."
Vice Commander: "They are unable to be with their loved ones and families."
Commander: "We call your attention to this small table, which
occupies a place of dignity and honor. It is reserved to honor our missing loved ones and missing comrades in arms."
Commander: "Please rise and uncover!"
Commander: "The Sgt-at-Arms will advance to light
(Cassette player plays "Amazing Grace" performed by bag pipes)
(The Sgt-at-Arms slowly advances to the table setting where he pauses and waits the que given by the Commander)
Commander: "The Sgt-at-Arms lighting the candle is a reminder
for all of us to spare no effort to secure the release of any American prisoners from captivity, the repatriation of the remains
of those who died bravely in defense of liberty, and a full accounting of those missing in action. "
(The Sgt-at-Arms slowly executes the lighting of the
candle, comes to attention faces the POW-MIA chair, executes a slow salute and remains at attention
beside the table)
Commander: "Please be seated. I will explain the symbolism
of each item."
Vice Commander: "The Table!"
Commander: "This table, set for one, is small symbolizing the helplessness
of one person alone against their oppressor. The table is round to show our everlasting concern for these missing
men and women."
Vice Commander: "The Cloth!"
Commander: "The table cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their intentions
to respond to their country's call to arms."
Vice Commander: "The Bread Plate!"
Commander: "A slice of lemon on the bread plate reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land. The salt sprinkled on the plate is to remind us of the countless tears of those who have never come home and of the fallen tears of their families and friends,
whose grief knows no end."
Vice Commander: "The Rose!"
"The single red rose, displayed 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
the faith, while awaiting their return."
Vice Commander: "The Ribbon!"
Commander: "The red ribbon, tightly tied on
the vase, represents the red ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper
accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight."
Vice Commander: "The Candle!"
Commander: "The candle is 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."
Vice Commander: "The Glass!"
"The glass is inverted, for they can not toast with us tonight."
Vice Commander: "The Bible!"
Commander: "The Bible represents the strength gained through
faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God."
Vice Commander: "The Flag!"
Commander: "The American Flag reminds us that many of them may never return
- and have paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom."
Vice Commander: "The Chair!"
"The chair is empty! They are not here."
(The Sgt-at-Arms turns to face the candle)
Commander: "We all called them our comrades, brothers, sisters,
and friends. Do not let them be forgotten, for surely they have not forgotten us.
Chaplain: "We will pause for
a moment of silence in honor of our Prisoners Of War, our Missing In Action, and our Killed In Action."
(Sgt-at-Arms extinguishes the candle, observes the moment of silence, executes
about face, and returns to his station)
Chaplain: "Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices.
May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families. Let us pray that our comrades will soon be back within our ranks. Through Christ
our Lord. Amen."
Commander: "Remember! -- Until the day they come home, Always
Commander: "Attention! Salute!"
Commander: “This concludes our POW/MIA/KIA Ceremony. Thank
you for your attention.”