The theme of this year’s Fiesta Day, “Stars, Stripes and Fiesta,” was patriotic tribute honoring all those who have served our nation. In an effort to honor those who served in America’s Armed Forces, the Fiesta Day Committee displayed a “White Table” on a small stage near the flag pole.
America’s White Table is a simple but deeply meaningful tradition observed by service members. It is set in many mess halls as a symbol for and remembrance to service members fallen, missing, or held captive in the line of duty. Solitary and solemn, it is the table where no one will ever sit.
Traditionally, America’s White Table is set with a white tablecloth, black napkin, white candle, single red rose in a vase with a red ribbon, bible, glass and a plate with a slice of lemon and salt. An empty chair leans against the table.
The table is round to show our everlasting devotion and concern for our fallen and missing comrades. The cloth is white to symbolize the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, remind us of the life, and the blood that was shed, and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith and await answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our commitment, and continued determination to account for our missing.
A slice of lemon on the plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. The salt is to remind us of the tears endured by those missing and their families who still seek answers. The black napkin is a reminder of the isolation, deprivation and cruel fate our missing.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted to symbolize their inability to share this evening with us. The chair is empty and tilted -they are not here- and will remain so until they return or are accounted for.
“You are not forgotten so long as there is one left in whom your memory remains”