The table is round -- to show our everlasting concern for the missing men.
The tablecloth is white -- symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the[ir] loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.
The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.
A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
The glass is inverted -- to symbolize their inability to share this evening's [morning’s/day’s] toast.
The chair is empty -- they are missing.
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.
Then, for those who have never had the pleasure of watching a Grog (or "Punch Bowl") Ceremony, you have missed a major event in military life!
The history of the "Punch Bowl" ceremony has become obscured with time. Legend has it that during the years of the Westward expansion, Cavalry Troopers would share their spirits with one another thereby insuring that all fellow troopers had something to drink.
The alcoholic spirits usually consisted of whatever an individual trooper’s taste was, and that when mixed with other alcohol created a powerful drink known as "GROG".
The camaraderie developed over the decades, and the various wars and campaigns provided the rare opportunity to share "liberated" spirits with each other. Today’s "GROG" or punch bowl ceremony is a symbolic reflection of this age-old tradition, and ingredients like 'axel grease' and 'dirt' are added to symbolize or honor members of the organization or a particular aspect of a particular group's type of work.
Here are a few shots of the Grog Ceremony:
Here all three of the commanding officers, the General, the Colonel, and the LT. Colonel all take a taste.
This PFC really got into the swing of things, as well.