'They must remain in our minds and in our hearts forever'
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- In honor of the coming Veterans Day holiday, the Springfield Veterans of Foreign Wars post held a ceremony Saturday honoring those soldiers of all five branches of the U.S. Military who were prisoners of war or reported missing in action.
Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Coast Guard each represented by a flag carefully positioned on a chair around a table set for a POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony.
One seat remained empty, symbolizing a patriot who didn't make it home.
"They must remain in our minds and in our hearts forever," said veteran Jim Matthews.
The ceremony of symbolically setting a table is a way for veterans to pay respects for their fallen comrades.
Honor Guard John Marcil served for 24 years. He said that laying down the air-force flag brought back memories.
"The ceremony reminds of them that are not, that are not here," said Marcil. "That's the hard part."
The centerpiece consists of a red ribbon for the missing, and a rose for all who kept faith. Salt at the table symbolizes the tears of each prisoner of war and their loved ones.
"This country seems to forget about the history, and for these gentlemen that have really paid a huge sacrifice... it's important that we honor them," said Rick Higgins, VFW District 13 Commander.