The picture was taken in Marietta Georgia at a Chik-Fil-A. It’s a table set in honor of our fallen comrades. I understand that another major restaurant did this also. It’s called The Missing Man Table. Photo Eric Comfort
Photo Eric Comfort

It contains a single rose, a Bible and a folded American flag, and a plaque. The plaque provides the following explanation:

“This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms. The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers. 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’s toast. The chair is empty — they are missing.”

When you’re able to envision a person in that chair, the loss is felt. I lost a pen pal Marine buddy in Afghanistan about 12 years ago. I sent care packages to his unit. He had a wife and four children. He was a hero who ran back to warn his men of an ambush. I was also buddies with his mother, as I had a son that was an Infantryman (4th ID) deployed in Iraq at the same time. My son came home, hers didn’t.

This Memorial Day, I think that the best thing we can do is to understand why we should remember, but also to honor our fallen by knowing the truth of our history; the whole story, not just what politicians want us to hear. What if our forefathers had given up on our independence from England? Look at the two world wars. What if we had lost our freedom then? There will always be tyrants, and we have to be willing to defend our right to be free. As long as there are wolves, it’s good to know we have sheepdogs willing to stay the course to protect the sheep.

We honor our fallen by remembering, preserving the truth and diligently fighting for it. Today, let’s mourn the death of all lives that were selflessly lost for the freedom of future generations, but also remember that our country is great because our motive is to defend what we have, a valuable treasure that can’t be gotten back without bloodshed if we carelessly lose it.

So, take a moment and reflect, maybe tell your story or listen patiently as someone who has been there tells theirs. Think about the symbolism of the glass in the story that can never toast the freedom he or she fought for. Watch the movie The Patriot or listen to the Star Spangled Banner.

Now, I get the picture! I can’t wait until the 4th of July. Looking up in the sky at the fireworks gives whole new meaning to the Star Spangle Banner lyrics, “…and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there”.

 “Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.


Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America

I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Ronald Reagan – 40th president of the United States of America

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