GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County veterans, family and friends will be gathering in the Gallipolis City Park beside the Spirit of the American Doughboy Veteran Memorial, Friday, September 20, at 10 a.m. to recognize those lost but not forgotten who served their country.
The third Friday of September is traditionally recognized as National Prisoners of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day. It is an annual observance of prisoners of war and those missing in action of all previous armed conflicts. John Jackson will be the speaker for the ceremony, with VFW Post 4464 Honor Guard presenting the colors. Jenny Henchey will be presenting vocal selections with Gary Fenderbosch sharing his recent travel to Normandy, France, to attend the 75th observance of D-Day. This ceremony is a combined effort of the Gallia County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #709 and VFW Post 4464. All are welcome to attend the special service.
An empty table has traditionally been set at the ceremony in City Park. Presenters of the ceremony often explain the significance of the POW MIA Empty Chair Ceremony then followed with a reading of Gallia’s lost and missing veterans. The table symbolizes the frailty of an isolated prisoner. The tablecloth is white and symbolic of the purity of the individual’s intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms. A single rose in a vase signifies the blood shed in sacrifice for country. The ribbon on vase represents the ribbons worn on lapels of the thousands who demand a proper accounting of comrades not among the public. The slice of lemon on a plate reminds others of the bitter fate of the missing. The salt on the plate reminds others of the tears shed as families wait for their loved ones return. The inverted glass is to remind others of those who cannot toast with their family and friends at the current time. The candles remind others of the light of hope that a soldier will return home. The American Flag reminds others that many may never return and reminds others of the pain and sacrifice to ensure freedom. Flags of the various military branches stand for those who served in their respective branches. The empty chair serves as the largest reminder of those who are still missing.