Empty tables are popping up at Chik-fil-A locations across America. They have such a profound meaning, and every American should understand why – even you. While the “Missing Man” table is becoming a common trend, Chik-fil-A chose specific items that have a distinct meaning, and you may have missed some of the sentiments behind what’s chosen for their display.
Time after time, Chik-fil-A has proven that they are a Christian-based company. In fact, what they have done to celebrate Memorial Day is truly something remarkable. In honor of soldiers who have given their lives, many Chik-fil-A locations have set up an empty table known as the “Missing Man” table – and everything on display has a profound meaning that every American should understand.
Although the tables may look slightly different from location to location, they all have certain aspects that are exactly the same. The table is set with empty chairs, a white tablecloth, a single red rose, a yellow ribbon, a slice of lemon, a pinch of salt, a Bible, a lit candle, and an inverted glass. Each and every one of those items are selected for a reason, according to POW-MIA Families, and have a specific meaning to remember the men and women who have given their lives for America.
The table is set with a white tablecloth, which symbolizes the purity of the motives of the fallen soldiers. A single red rose is set as a reminder of the lives lost and their loved ones who may still be seeking answers. The yellow ribbon represents “our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them,” according to POW-MIA Families.
The slice of lemon is placed on a plate as a reminder of their bitter fate. A pinch of salt represents the tears of our missing and their families who may never receive the answers they need. The candle represents hope for their return. The inverted glass is placed on the table to represent the soldier’s inability to share a toast.
The most important item placed on the tables is the Bible. It represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us all through the hardships faced after a soldier has gone missing or has lost his life.
Retired Navy Commander Marinus Storm operates a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida, and he has chosen to proudly display the “Missing Man” table in his restaurant every Memorial Day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“People have always been touched by it, especially veterans and the generation that has children in the armed forces now,” Storm says. “Memorial Day is a somber holiday – it’s really about the fallen. The current or recent service members who come into our restaurant are really affected by this.” He continued, “There’s no doubt this is an opportunity to teach people, specifically those who don’t have any connection to the military, about the sacrifices our service members make and that those losses last.”
Understanding why there’s an empty table displayed and appreciating the items chosen at many restaurants across the country on Memorial Day weekend is the least we could for our fallen soldiers. They gave up their lives for us to be free, and it would be disrespectful to go on with our Memorial Day celebrations without truly understanding the meaning behind the holiday.
Our troops are our heroes and it’s time every American respects their sacrifices. So, next time you see a Missing Man table, say a prayer and make sure anyone who is around you understands what all the things on the table represent.