I attended the wedding of two kickball friends last night. The groom is new to our circle of friends and I don't really know him that well. He's a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and had an enormous number of medals on his uniform -- I was afraid he was going to tip over at one point. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception, with many men and women in various Navy uniforms. Living in this area, I really should learn more about this stuff.
Before the reception began, one of Jayson's groomsmen took to the mic and said the following. By the time he finished, there wasn't a dry eye in the house among the civilians. I thought it was worth passing along.
"Before we begin our activities this evening, we will pause to recognize our POWs and MIAs.
We call your attention to this small table, which occupies a place of dignity and honor near the head table. 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 tonight, so we join together to pay our humble tribute to them, and bear witness to their continued absence.
This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.
The single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood they 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 yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow 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.
A slice of lemon on the bread plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
The glass is inverted - they cannot toast with us this night.
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 the open arms of a grateful nation.
Let us pray to the supreme commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices.
May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families."