Tribute to POW/MIA and Our Military
Don Mathews
Missing Man Table & Honors

The POW-MIA Ceremony is generally
used in conjunction with the opening of a
dinner function.

It originated with several of the ROTC and
JROTC units in Florida and there are
many different versions. Groups who use
the ceremony modify it to suit their local
requirements. For example, JROTC units
often do not have access to hats and do
not use them. Sometimes there are not
enough people to do all five services so
one may be used to represent all services
or four are honored, instead.  Civilians are
also included in some version of this

This table is set for our prisoners of war and those missing
in action from all wars that are too often forgotten. They are
not with us today. Their chairs are empty, but saved for
their hoped return. Let us remember their absence. If set for
six, the empty places represent Americans still missing from
each of the five services -- Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air
Force, Coast Guard –– and civilians. Dress hats may be
present for each branch of service, and one civilian (plain)
ball cap.

The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for
our missing men -- Remember.
The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their
motives when answering the call to duty so that we all may
remain free - Remember.
The lone candle -- symbolizing the frailty of a prisoner
alone, trying to stand up against her oppressors --
The black ribbon on the candle -- reminds us of those who
will not be coming home -- Remember.
The single red rose, displayed in a vase -- reminds us of
the life of each of the missing, and the loved ones and
friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting
answers -- Remember.
The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued
determination to account for our missing -- Remember.
The red ribbon may be tied to the vase with a yellow ribbon
-- worn by thousands awaiting their return -- -- Remember
A slice of lemon on the bread plate -- to remind us of the
bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land if
we do not bring them home -- Remember.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those
missing and their families who seek answers -- Remember.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to
sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation
under God.
The faded picture on the table -- reminds us that they are
missed very much and are remembered by their families --
The glass is inverted -- to symbolize their inability to share
this toast with us now -- maybe tomorrow if we Remember.
The chairs are empty -- they are missing -- Remember.

Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor
America's POW/MIAs and to the success of our efforts to
account for them.

As we look upon this empty table, do not remember ghosts
from the past, remember our comrades. Remember those
whom we depended on in battle. They depend on us to
bring them home.
Remember our friends, they are the ones we love -- who
love life and freedom as we do.
They will remember what we do. Please honor and
remember them.
Missing Man Table & Honors Ceremony
became aware of the
Missing Man Table and
Honors Ceremony at the
VFW in Comstock, MI. I
was so impressed by the
dignity of the ceremony
sacrifice made by those
left behind, that I went
home and wrote this
song. Remember me and
bring me home is the
plea of all those left

I’m  a lonely soldier I don’t know where I am

They just keep on moving me around this prison that I’m in

Every day is cloudy just like the day before

I know the war must be over, I’ve been here far too long

Does anybody there still miss me? Does anyone still care?

I hope someone still loves me

Enough to come and  take me out of here

I’ve seen my life pass before me but I’m still hanging on

I must keep on believing God will help you bring me home
I dream of being home as a child. It helps dull the pain I’m going through

I pray someday my brother soldiers will come and free me from this place

Until that day comes I’ll keep on praying every day of each passing year

Freedom is coming, Oh I feel my soldiers are near

And I pray I’ll be coming home to you
Links to some of the many
All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.
Lyrics copyright Don Mathews
Missing Man Table
VFW Post 6252
Comstock, MI
Missing Man Table Ceremony 2007
POW/MIA Balloon Launch
Link to pictures and
info about 2007
Milwaukee, WI
POW/MIA Balloon
Vietnam Veteran POW/MIA Tribute top
fuel dragster sponsored by Evan Knoll -
broke speed records at US 131
MotorSports Park in Martin, MI
We were there!!!
Link to Memorial Web page for
Maj. Robert G. Lapham
KIA in Viet Nam 02/08/1968
Link to Don Mathews Music Page on You Tube
Link to pictures and
info about annual
Milwaukee, WI
POW/MIA Balloon

He sleeps on the ground in the sand
Next to a tank he lays his head
A soldier will do whatever it takes
To save his fellow man
He knows how much his wife and children miss him
As he holds the picture close to him
And he’ll pray to God he’ll see them again
But now there’s a flag over him
But now there’s a flag over him

And sometimes the hero’s don’t come home
And they’ll make that sacrifice on their own
To serve their God and country
And another family will weep
And another family will weep

As a police officer puts on his vest
He checks his weapon and puts on his badge
To serve and protect all of us
He knows any days could be his last
He loves his wife and children so
He puts their picture on the dashboard while on patrol
He’s second car on another domestic call
As shots ring out, the officer he falls
As shots ring out, the officer he falls


Supper’s done down at the fire hall
The trucks are all ready to roll
As the firemen begin to eat their meal
The radio rings out for another call
It’s reported there are children upstairs
As the firemen all put on their gear
They’ll save all the children with care
Then realize there’s a firemen not here
Then realize there’s a firemen not here

Words and Music by Don Mathews Copyright 2011
Listen to Sometimes the Heroes Don't Come Home on YouTube
Listen to 'Sometimes the Heroes Don't Come Home'