When Memorial Day Weekend arrives, many of us look forward to hitting the road for a long weekend at the beach or enjoying cookouts with friends and family. With the excitement that surrounds the “unofficial start of summer,” Maroon PR remains focused on recognizing the true meaning of the occassion, and the importance of observing Memorial Day in a respectful way. Our team is proud to work alongside several of our clients to help elevate their messaging, events, and other initiatives that honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

As is tradition, MPR client, the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM), encouraged restaurants to take part in the “Missing Man” table initiative and raised awareness for this initiative by distributing information and other resources to restaurants statewide. A tradition that has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War, the Missing Man table—also referred to as the MIA/POW table, Empty Table, or Fallen Soldier table—is a permanent place of honor found in military dining facilities, also set up during service balls and other military dining occasions. The layout of the table is specifically designed to display a variety of objects that represent the range of emotions we feel for those who have not come home, including grief, love, and everlasting hope for the safe return of those who remain missing.

“We understand that an important part of military etiquette is honoring service members who are missing or have died in the line of duty, and so, we’re proud to support, inform, and encourage our members and other restaurants across the state to participate in this tradition. It’s a meaningful way to honor those we’ve lost while also recognizing the incredible sacrifice that so many U.S. military families have made,” said Marshall Weston, RAM President & CEO.

 As a result of this effort, dozens of Maryland restaurants set the symbolic empty table on display in their dining room for the entirety of Memorial Day Weekend to acknowledge the sacrifices made by U.S. Military Service Members, as well as their families. To help further increase awareness for this tradition and uplift local restaurants, MPR worked with the RAM team to identify participating restaurants and put them forward for earned media coverage opportunities to speak about this initiative and what it means for their businesses.

The Missing Man table is set as follows:

The white tablecloth draped over the table represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms.

The empty chair depicts an unknown face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, but all who are not here with us.

The table itself is round to show that our concern for them is never ending. 

The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God. 

The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends.

The single red rose reminds us of their families and loved ones. The red ribbon represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call.

The yellow candle and its yellow ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those yet accounted for.

The slices of lemon on the bread plate remind us of their bitter fate.

The salt upon the bread plate represent the tears of their families.

The wine glass, turned upside down, reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities of the evening.


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