The POW/MIA Table: A Place Setting for One, A Table for All
The tradition of setting a separate table in honor of our prisoners of war and missing comrades has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War. The manner in which this table is decorated is full of special symbols to help us remember our brothers and sisters in arms. Those symbols are spelled out in OPNAVINST 1710.7A.
The POW/MIA table is smaller than the others, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her oppressors. This table is separate from the others and can be set for one to four place settings to represent each service participating in the event.
The significance of the POW/MIA table is called to attention during the toast of the evening. This is an important part of many military banquets and events to remind us that the strength of those who fight for our country often times rests in the traditions that are upheld today. Take the time to reflect on why that small, lone table is there and raise a glass for our fallen comrades.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday in September. Please take a moment to remember those who served as prisoners of war and the thousands who remain missing in action since World War II. Read their firsthand accounts here.
Organizations supporting the POW/MIA effort