The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families. Alpine Township was one of many communities in the Greater Grand Rapids area that past proclamations declaring today as Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recornition Day. Leaders from these communities were on hand at a special ceremony conducted at trhe chapel of the Grand Rapids Veteran's facility in North Park. There are currently 361 Michigan military men and women still unaccounted for or missing from the Korea conflict, 53 from the Vietnam conflict, 4 from the cold war, and 1 from Iraq. The program was organized by Betty Pike, wife of Jim Pike, President of chapter 18, Vietrnam Veterans Association.
Above is a photo of a small table present during the ceremony and located in a place of honor. It is set for one. This table is our way of symbolizing that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst. They are commonly call P.O.W.'s or M.I.A.'s, we call them brothers.
They are unable to be with us this evening and so we remember them.
This table set for one is small... it symbolizes the frailty of one prisoner against his oppressors.
The table cloth is white... it symbolizes the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.
The single rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades in arms who keep faith awaiting their return.
The red ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn on the lapel and breasts of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting for our missing.
A slice of lemon is on the bread plate... to remind us of their bitter fate.
There is salt upon the bread plate... symbolic of the family's tears as they wait.
The glass is inverted... they cannot toast with us tonight.
The chair is empty... they are not here.
Remember... all of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended on their might and aid, and relied on them... for surely... they have not forsaken you.