September14, 2015 --
The annual POW-MIA
prayer breakfast was held, Sept. 11, at the Town and Country Grand Ballroom
aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.
marks a sad benchmark, since the first breakfast held in 1997, because the
event lacked the presence of a single POW-MIA person or family member.
Bob James, director,
Base Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, addressed a capacity crowd
who attended the event.
“It is just a sad
sign of the times,” James said. “Although there are a few remaining heroes in
the local area, their health does not permit them (to attend).”
In recognition of
all service members in arms, including those missing and unaccounted for, a
single table filled with a variety of items sat in the rear of the room.
James explained the
significance of the commemorative table as well as each of the items in the
“The empty place
setting represents Americans still missing from the five services,” he said. “The
table is round to show our everlasting concern for those still missing and for the
unaccounted. The black table cloth symbolizes our mourning for those who remain
“The bud vase is
white to symbolize the purity of their motives when they answered the call of
duty,” he continued. “The single red rose reminds us that each of the missing
represents an individual life. The vase is tied with a red ribbon a symbol of
our determination to account for as many of our missing as possible. A slice of
lemon on a plate reminds us of a bitter fate of our captured in a foreign land.
“A pinch of salt
symbolizes a tear shed by those who were captured, those who remain missing and
their families,” James added. “The Bible on the table represents the strength gained
through faith that sustained those who were captured and the ‘one nation under
God’ they served. The glass is inverted and the chair is empty to symbolize the
inability of those who remain missing to share with us in this recognition.”
commanding officer encouraged attendees to remember and recognize the service
members’ sacrifices in preserving our freedoms.
“We should stop,
pause and remember the dedicated sacrifice and let families know how much we
appreciate what their loved ones did,” Col. James Carroll III, CO, MCLB Albany,
said. “This program marked an incredible opportunity to recognize those who
paid an incredible price to keep our country free and those who continue to
keep our country free.”
During the event, Maj.
Alexander Vanston, staff secretary, Marine Corps Logistics Command, spoke about
the three years he spent searching for missing service persons.
Vanston said his
most memorable missions were those when family members were part of the search
efforts, describing it as living history and humbling.
“It is the keeping of a sacred oath -- that when
you put on the uniform -- if you do fall, we are going to come for you.”