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Friday, Sept. 16 is POW/MIA Observance Day; display of “missing man” table at library | By James Maersch

Washington County, WI – POW/MIA Observance Day is commemorated on the third Friday in September. It is the day Americans pay tribute to former prisoners of war and keep faith with our promise as a nation to bring all of our hero’s home; this year it falls on Friday, September 16.


“National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.”
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At present, there are over 82,000 members of the U.S. military missing or unaccounted for.

A candle remembrance is held at the Vietnam Memorial for POW/MIA Observance Day.

The POW/MIA flag originated in 1971.  The black and white colors represent sorrow, anxiety, and hope.

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In conjunction with POW/MIA is the “missing man table,” or Fallen Comrade Table. It is to remind us of those fallen, missing, or imprisoned U S. military service members.

A display of the “missing man table” will be at the West Bend Memorial Library, 630 Poplar Street, West Bend, WI, the week of September 12.


According to the War Memorial Center:

Each item on the Missing Man Table represents the emotions and feelings reserved for those who did not come home. The ceremony symbolizes that they are with us, here in spirit. All Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call to serve and fought for our freedom with honor.

The table consists of eleven elements which are explained below:

The white tablecloth:  Purity

The empty chair: No specific person

The round table: Never-ending concern

The Bible:  Faith in a higher power

The black napkin:  Heart’s emptiness

The single red rose: Family and loved ones

The ribbon on the vase: Love for our country

The yellow candle: Hope

The slice of lemon: Bitter fate

The salt on the bread plate: Family’s tears

The inverted wine glass: Missing comrades

Below is a brief history of the POW/MIA Flag.

Click HERE for a list of veterans recently accounted for.


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