This Memorial Day weekend, restaurants across the state of Maryland will have “Missing Man” tables set in their dining rooms to honor the American soldiers who have lost their lives or are still missing in action while serving their country. These tables are also referred to as a MIA/POW table, Empty table or Fallen Comrade table.
The Missing Man table is a permanent place of honor found in military dining facilities that are also set up during service balls and other military dining occasions. The tradition of setting a separate table in honor of fallen and missing soldiers has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War. The manner in which the table is decorated is full of special symbols to help us remember the sacrifice these men, women and their families have given to their country.
As families and friends get together this holiday weekend, restaurants across the state will have Missing Man tables set up to remind their customers of those we have lost. The Restaurant Association of Maryland led the effort to educate restaurants on the meaning of the Missing Man table and encouraged their members to participate.
Marshall Weston, President & CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, commented that “Restaurants are the cornerstones of their communities. They often donate to numerous charitable causes and most offer discounts to military and other service members to thank them for what they do to protect us. The Missing Man table is just another way for restaurants to recognize and honor them, while also reminding customers of their sacrifice”.
Click the READ MORE button to see how the Missing Man Table is set up and a list of restaurants participating.
The Missing Man table is set as follows:
The white tablecloth draped over the table represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms.
The empty chair depicts an unknown face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, but all who are not here with us.
The table itself is round to show that our concern for them is never ending.
The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God.
The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends.
The single red rose reminds us of their families and loved ones. The red ribbon represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call.
The yellow candle and its yellow ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet accounted for.
The slices of lemon on the bread plate remind us of their bitter fate.
The salt upon the bread plate represent the tears of their families.
The wine glass, turned upside down, reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities of the evening.
“I ask all veterans who visit a restaurant this weekend and who see the empty table display to take a moment to express your gratitude and appreciation to the owner or manager for their support of our veterans. I think they will see that supporting our veterans is also good for business”, stated Todd E Mitchell Major – MP Retired, Director Business Advocates for Veterans.
A small sampling of the restaurants who will set up Missing Man tables this weekend include:
Anne Arundel County
Applebee’s – Annapolis
Applebee’s – Crofton
Blackwall Hitch - Annapolis
Deep Creek Restaurant
Frisco Tap House
Five & Dime Ale House
Pratt Street Ale House
Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop
Applebee’s – White Marsh
Full Moon Pub & Grill
The Westlawn Inn
Applebee’s – Westminster
Buffalo Wild Wings – Westminster
The County Cork Wine Pub
Ledo Pizza - Westminster
Ledo Pizza – Route 26
Applebee’s – Aberdeen
Applebee’s – Bel Air
AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar
Frisco Tap House
Ledo Pizza - Columbia
The Turn House
The Manor at Silo Falls
Seibel’s Restaurant & UpTown Pub
Prince George’s County
Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro
Texas Ribs & BBQ
Queen Anne’s County
Harris Crab House
Applebee’s - Easton
Applebee’s – Salisbury
Arby’s - Salisbury
Applebee’s – Ocean City
BJ’s on the Water
Shenanigan’s Irish Pub & Grille
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