Sixth-grade social studies teacher Ashley Beairsto and teacher aide Debbie marked POW/MIA Recognition Day on Sept. 20 by meeting with five members of American Legion George Smith Post 1607 and hearing from them about military prisoners of war (POWs) and those who are missing in action (MIAs).
Guests were Post 107 Commander Ron Alliet, a Navy veteran; Army veteran Ken Balzano; Navy veteran Nick Solimado; Army veteran John Clauson; and Air Force veteran Art Olah.
POW/MIA Recognition Day is the third Friday of September. It is a day to honor and remember those who are not accounted for and a time for people to pledge they will never be forgotten. The students participated in a ceremony that allowed them to set the table to remember those whose remains have not been found.
Becky Olah, who was a middle school aide for many years and is Post 1607 auxiliary president, assisted in the visit by providing information on the POW/MIA table.
The small table is set for one and symbolizes that armed forces personnel are missing from its ranks.
“We call them comrades. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families, so we join together to pay humble tribute to them, and bear witness to their continued absence.
“The table is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her oppressors.
“The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.
“The single rose signifies the blood they may have shed in service to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. The rose also reminds us of our missing comrades families and friends who keep the faith while awaiting their return.
“The red ribbon on the vase represents the red ribbons worn on the lapels of thousands who demand a proper accounting of our comrades who are not with us.
“A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
“The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless tears of families as they wait.
“The glass is inverted; they cannot not toast with us at this time.
“The chair is empty; they are not here.
“The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope, which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.
“The American flag reminds us that many of them will never return and have paid the supreme sacrifice to insure our freedom.
“Let us pray that all our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
“Let us remember and never forget their sacrifice.”