Fiesta Day exhibit honors veterans, Pearl Harbor

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The Fiesta Day exhibit features America’s White Table, 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. Photo by Donna Ritchie

Although Fiesta Day is a celebration and the official kick-off to Canyon Lake’s summer, the Fiesta Day Committee felt it was important to incorporate a tribute to those who served the nation.

In keeping with the Fiesta Day theme, “Fiesta Day Celebrates Hawaii, Remembering Pearl Harbor” the committee designed a Pearl Harbor exhibit and featured it in the Holiday Bay Room where people could view it throughout the day.

America’s White Table was situated between the two Pearl Harbor banners. America’s White Table is a simple but meaningful tradition observed by service members.

America’s White Table 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 for the service member that is not here.

The table is round to show everlasting devotion and concern for the 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 signifies the blood they have shed to ensure the freedom of the beloved United States of America. The rose also reminds the family and friends who keep the faith while awaiting their return. The vase is tied with a red ribbon to symbolize the commitment and continued determination to account for the missing.

A slice of lemon on the plate is a reminder of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. The salt is a reminder 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 of the missing.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from the country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted to symbolize that they are not there to toast the evening. The chair is empty and tilted – they are not here – and will remain so until they return or are accounted for.

In addition to the Pearl Harbor and America’s Table exhibits, the committee arranged a flyover by the Warbirds West, a San Diego-based salute team, at the start of the Fiesta Day parade. Warbirds are considered military aircraft used in different services since the advent of military aircraft.

Many of San Diego’s resident’s own Warbirds and are the stewards of these amazing aircraft.

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