Missing Man

PLEASE NOTE: All events and dates are subject to change.

Rolling Thunder, Chapter One TN


Missing Man Ceremony

The Missing Man Ceremony is a dignified and solemn moment in

many formal dinners and other occasions. There have been many

different narratives written for the ceremony, but the symbolism is quiteconstant.

The Missing Man Ceremony usually follows the "Posting of the Colors"

and the "National Anthem in the order of the program.

The Ceremony


As you entered the dining area, you may have noticed a table at the

front, raised to call your attention to its purpose -- it is reserved to honor

our missing loved comrades.

Set for six, the empty places represent our men missing from each of

the five services - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard -

and civilians. This Honors Ceremony symbolizes that they are with us,

here in spirit.

Some here today/tonight were very young when the Vietnam War

began; however, all Americans should never forget our brave men and

women who answered our nation's call and served the cause of

freedom in a special way.

As the Honor Guard places one of the five service covers or a civilian

cap on each empty plate, I would like to ask you to consider their

sacrifices, followed by a moment of silent prayer.

Honor Guard:

(In silence or with dignified, reverent music as background, the Honor

Guard moves into position around the table and simultaneously places

one of the service covers, of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force

and Coast Guard, or a civilian hat, on each empty dinner plate at each

table setting. The Honor Guard then departs.)


Please be seated...............I would like to explain the meaning of the items on

this special table.

The table is round - to show our everlasting concern for our men still


The tablecloth is white - symbolizing the purity of their motives when

answering the call to 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 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 slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of

those captured and missing in a foreign land.

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 chairs are empty - they are missing.

Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America's

POW/MIA's and to the success of our efforts to account for them.

Table Set-up

A small, round bistro table

White tablecloth

Single place setting, preferably all white

Wine glass - inverted

Salt shaker

Slice of lemon on bread plate with a pile of spilled salt

Small bud vase with a single stem red rose

RED ribbon tied around the vase

Candle - lit

Empty chair