Freedom Deli is proud to present our POW/MIA tribute table, which is set aside to honor our service members who are missing in action or a prisoner of war.
To us, “Freedom” isn’t just something that’s on our signage, it’s at the very root of our message. While there are several tables arranged for our guests to enjoy our over-loaded sandwiches, one table is set aside for a special purpose.
It’s a lone table that rests quietly by the window next to a proud display of Old Glory. It’s graced with a white tablecloth, a single place setting, one chair, an empty glass, a pinch of salt, a lemon, and a solitary rose in a glass vase with a small yellow ribbon tied around it. Even the size of the table is symbolic.
This table is a POW/MIA tribute table, and every item is rich with deep symbolism. Our hope is that every restaurant will carry on this rich tradition to honor our missing veterans.
What follows is the list of all of the elements of this profound message:
This table is our way of symbolizing that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst.
They are commonly called POWs or MIAs. We call them brothers.
They are unable to be with us, so this is how we remember them.
This table set for one is small — symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when they answered the call to duty.
The single red rose in the vase, displayed in the vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.
The vase is tied with a yellow ribbon, a 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 or missing in a foreign field.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
The glass is inverted — to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s toast or supper.
The chair is empty — which reminds us they are missing.
Remember — all of you who are safe here today for what they have done.
Remember — all of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended on their might and aid, and relied on them — for surely they have not forsaken you!
Photo courtesy of BusinessClarksville.com
Freedom is Not Free
The following is a poem written in 1981 that has special meaning for the writer, who graciously permitted us to share with our visitors — as a reminder that freedom is NOT free. Always remember those who serve, and remember their legacy. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our freedoms; may we always honor them and their valor in the service for our nation.
Freedom is Not Free
I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought… how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves
No, Freedom is not Free.
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill;
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant “Amen”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend;
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands.
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No. Freedom is not Free!
©1981 by Kelly Strong
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