Tag Archives: Coast Guard

Memorial Day

Memorial Day isn’t celebrated-it’s observed. Memorial Day—once known as “Decoration Day” dates to just after the Civil War when various groups selected a day to lay flowers on the graves of those who fell in battle. Both North and South began similar traditions; eventually ending up on the last Monday in May. Veterans Day recognizes those who have served; Memorial Day is for those who, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “Gave the last full measure.”

There is a symbol, and on special occasions, a brief ceremony to honor the fallen, and especially those who are missing in action or prisoners of war. It is commonly known as the “White Table” or “Missing Service Member (initially “man”) Table.” The following is read, explaining the significance of each item on the table. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_man_table

Table Ceremony Script

Preferably, the table is being set while the script is read.

The table that stands before you is a place of honor. In setting this table, we acknowledge those missing from our celebration today. And we remember them. (ring bell)

The table is small, and set for one — Symbolizing the vulnerability of a lone prisoner against his captors. Remember! (ring bell)

The tablecloth is white — Symbolizing purity of intention in responding to the nation’s call to arms. Remember! (ring bell)

The chair is empty, for they are not here. Remember! (ring bell)

The wine glass is inverted — They cannot toast with us this night. Remember! (ring bell)

The slices of lemon — Reminding us of their bitter suffering. Remember! (ring bell)

The grains of salt — Representing the countless tears of the families. Remember! (ring bell)

The single red rose — Reminding us of loved ones who keep the faith awaiting their return. Remember! (ring bell)

The burning candle and yellow ribbon — Symbolizing everlasting hope of a reunion with the missing. Remember! (ring bell)

Remember! — All who have served alongside them; we who have donned the same proud uniform, being sworn to the same faith and allegiance — We will never forget their sacrifice. Remember! (ring bell)

Remember! — Until the day they return home, or find eternal peace, we will remember. (ring bell).


Perspective

Dr Seuss(Theodor Seuss Geisel)We Miss You!

Dr. Seuss
(Theodor Seuss Geisel)
We Miss You!

 

For the Christmas season in 2005 I was bouncing around Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Sailors I was responsible for worked hard unloading and reloading ships, acting as Customs Inspectors and training Iraqi and Afghani forces. When the holidays approached, they looked forward to some well-deserved downtime.

Alas, it was not to be.

When the holidays come, so do FOGOs – Flag Officers (Admirals) and General Officers (Generals). Instead of a day to catch up on some shuteye, read a book, relax or whatever, the Sailors (as well as their Army, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard compatriots) had to put on a clean, pressed uniform and spend half a day at the DFAC (Dining Facility) while a FOGO they’d never met carved the turkey or dished up mashed potatoes on the food line and then sat and “chatted” with the service members.

All well-intentioned, but not exactly a bull’s-eye.

This Christmas, may I suggest that whatever you’re planning on doing to entertain or support others, please – keep your audience in mind. If you give them what they want, it’s so much better than if you give them what you want to give.

Just a thought.