Lone table at Zumwalt stands as a solitary tribute to veterans


The small circular table appears like an island in a sea of books and literary materials in the library at Sarah Zumwalt Middle School. Its purpose is simple: to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

As part of Veterans Day, librarian Amy Tucker dressed the table formally amidst the other unadorned study tables in the library. Each aspect of the table, traditionally dubbed “America’s White Table” or “The Missing Man’s Table” in similar celebrations across the nation, represents a specific purpose.

“It represents a seat at the table for the soldiers who have fallen, POWs or those missing in action. When the students come in, I explain to them about the meaning of each item, and what the soldiers do for us and fight for our freedom,” Tucker said. “They can also read the book (placed on the table).”

The meaning of each items includes:

  • A white cloth to honor a soldier’s pure heart when he answers his country’s call to duty.
  • A lemon slice and grains of salt on a plate to show a captive soldier’s bitter fate and tears of families waiting for loved ones to return.
  • An empty chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here.
    A black napkin for the sorrow of captivity, and turn over a glass for the meal that won’t be eaten.
  • A white candle for peace and finally, a red rose in a vase tied with a red ribbon for the hope that all our missing will return someday.

Tucker is quick to note that the table was not her idea. She credits fellow librarian Rebecca Sivard of W.H. Gaston Middle School for sharing the idea with her peers.

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