September 25, 2013: A Day of Remembrance

~ by Mary Galvano

This past week I had the honor of being a part of the POW / MIA Recognition Day at a homeless veterans center. I was asked to sing for the event the National Anthem, “America, In God We Trust” (a song I wrote) and to lead everyone in singing God Bless America.

As I pulled up to the center I noticed the numerous black POW flags placed in the ground for our brave men and women imprisoned or missing in action for the sake of our freedom. I knew today’s ceremony would be a moving one as I already had tears in my eyes when walking among the flags.

I heard heroic war stories of people who gave their lives. Some stories were very hard to take in. Sitting amongst us were three WWII veterans two of whom marched in the Japanese Baton. The faces of these men were the faces of ultimate courage. Looking around the room at all the veterans I felt so humbled. My problems seemed so little compared to what these heroes had to endure.

What moved me the most, and I think everyone else, was the POW/MIA Missing Man Ceremony presented by the Ribault Senior High School Marine Corps. I could hear the sniffles throughout the hall including my own. Entering the banquet hall I noticed a small table in a place of honor and at the beginning of the ceremony itself each marine placed a hat at each setting for each division of the armed forces. There was even a civilian’s hat placed at a table setting.

Here is a sample of the ceremonial script they I wish to share:

Those who have served and those currently serving the uniformed services of the United States are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured and may still be enduring the agonies of pain, deprivation and internment.

Before we begin our activities, we will pause to recognize our POW’s and MIA’s.

We call your attention to this small table, which occupies a place of dignity and honor. It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks. They are referred to as POW’s and MIA’s.

We call them comrades.

They are unable to be with their loved ones and families tonight, so we join together to pay our humble tribute to them, and bear witness to their continued absence.

This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.

The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms.

The single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood they many have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.

The yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.
A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.

The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.

The glass is inverted – they cannot toast with us this night.

The chair is empty – they are not here.

The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope, which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.

Let us pray to the supreme commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.

Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices.

May god forever watch over them and protect them and their families.

At the end the words of Taps were recited and the ceremony ended with a prayer and the singing of God Bless America. I was forever moved, and no, these people that served our country making a difference in the lives of Americans will never be forgotten. And they must be told this. They need to know that they didn’t serve in vain and that we are forever grateful.


Mary Galvano-Bajohr is a singer/songwriter, LPGA golf instructor, speaker and author. On the golf course she is a dedicated professional, but go to a Yankee game, a Pro-life event or other venue and you just might see her step up to the microphone and sing the National Anthem or the Ave Maria.

Visit Mary’s website at

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