On the Friday before Veterans Day, the elementary students gathered for some very special presentations at their campuses. At the Holy Spirit campus, 6th grade teacher Mrs. Alana Steinlicht and Admissions Director Ms. Julie Lopez read aloud the book, “America’s White Table”, by Margot Theis Raven. At the St. Bede campus, Mrs. Mary Pears’ 6th grade students took turns setting items on the table while she read the book. Through the story of a family setting a table with an empty chair, the students learned about the symbolism behind a deeply important American military tradition: The Missing Man Table.
A table with one setting represents the isolation of the lost or captured soldier. The empty chair represents those who cannot be present. The white tablecloth represents the purity of the soldier’s call to serve his/her country. The inverted glass represents the inability of the lost soldier to partake in the gathering. The folded black napkin represents the sorrow of captivity. A single, red rose with a ribbon represents the blood shed in defense of our country and of the family who wait for the soldier’s safe return. The slice of lemon and plate of salt represent the lost soldier’s bitter tears. The lit candle is a light of hope from our hearts, and hopefully a beacon for lost soldiers to find their way back home.
After the reading, the students gave thanks to the service personnel and first responders present at the gathering.