Thursday, November 12, 2015

Veterans Day at UNM-Gallup

By Marilee Petranovich

 The Student Veterans Association at UNM-Gallup honored local service members with a display case of military memorabilia and a presentation on Tuesday, November 10th.  As part of the ceremony, student veterans set a Missing Man’s Table, also known as a Fallen Comrade Table, to recognize the sacrifices of military personnel, many of whom have not yet returned home.  Nick Brokesholder, Veterans Resource Center Director, explained the meaning of the Missing Man’s Table to the audience as Student Veterans Association members solemnly placed symbolic objects on the table.  At the end of the ceremony, attendees raised glasses of sparkling cider to the memory of all veterans.  The following is taken directly from the script as read during the ceremony.

“The table is set for one symbolizing the fact that members of armed forces are missing from our ranks.

The table is small symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his/her suppressors.

The tablecloth is white which is symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.  

The single red rose signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of the beloved United States of America.  This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep faith while awaiting their return.

The red ribbon on the vase represents the red ribbon worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination, a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among 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 fallen tears of families as they wait.

The glass is inverted – they cannot 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.

The American Flag reminds us that many of them may never return and have paid the supreme sacrifice to insure our freedom. “

Photos by John Van't Land