Lemon, Salt, and an Empty Chair

Scrolling through a friend’s facebook pictures, I came across this one, and swallowed hard. I recognize this place setting. I know what’s on it and why, and I know who isn’t sitting at this table:

The table is set with a white tablecloth, a
black napkin and white candle, and a plate with only a slice of lemon
and salt. An empty chair leans against the table.

The tradition, little known to the general public, of setting an empty
table with a white tablecloth in remembrance of prisoners of war and
those missing in action had its beginnings with a group of fighter pilots
who flew in Vietnam.

But what was started by the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots
Association — the so-called River Rats of Vietnam — has, during the
intervening years, spread to other branches of the military where
remembrance tables, or so-called missing man tables, are set when
units or commands gather for dinners or reunions.

Read more here.

Here’s what was said at one recent ceremony.

America’s White Table tells about the custom in picture book form.

Remembering, honoring those who answered a call to serve- a military tradition.

This entry was posted in Celebrations/feasts/memorials/high holy days, military. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

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