May 23, 2024
Annapolis, US 75 F

Maryland restaurants to honor the fallen and missing this weekend

This Memorial Day weekend, restaurants across the state of Maryland will have “Missing Man” tables set in their dining rooms to honor the American soldiers who have lost their lives or are still missing in action while serving their country.  These tables are also referred to as a MIA/POW table, Empty table or Fallen Comrade table.

The Missing Man table is a permanent place of honor found in military dining facilities that are also set up during service balls and other military dining occasions.  The tradition of setting a separate table in honor of fallen and missing soldiers has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War. The manner in which the table is decorated is full of special symbols to help us remember the sacrifice these men, women and their families have given to their country.

As families and friends get together this holiday weekend, restaurants across the state will have Missing Man tables set up to remind their customers of those we have lost.  The Restaurant Association of Maryland led the effort to educate restaurants on the meaning of the Missing Man table and encouraged their members to participate.

Marshall Weston, President & CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland, commented that “Restaurants are the cornerstones of their communities.  They often donate to numerous charitable causes and most offer discounts to military and other service members to thank them for what they do to protect us.  The Missing Man table is just another way for restaurants to recognize and honor them, while also reminding customers of their sacrifice”.

The Missing Man table is set as follows:

  • The white tablecloth draped over the table represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms.
  • The empty chair depicts an unknown face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, but all who are not here with us.
  • The table itself is round to show that our concern for them is never ending.
  • The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God.
  • The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends.
  • The single red rose reminds us of their families and loved ones. The red ribbon represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call.
  • The yellow candle and its yellow ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet accounted for.
  • The slices of lemon on the bread plate remind us of their bitter fate.
  • The salt upon the bread plate represent the tears of their families.
  • The wine glass, turned upside down, reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities of the evening.

Confirmed area participating restaurants include  Applebee’s – Annapolis.  Applebee’s – Crofton, Deep Creek Restaurant, Frisco Tap House, and Park Tavern.

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