Academic Programs

Adler Displays Place Setting for One, Table for All to Honor Military POWs and MIAs

The tradition of setting a separate table in honor of U.S. military prisoners of war and missing comrades has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War.

Members of Adler University’s Military Psychology Student Organization and its related programs followed the custom in advance of Veterans Day on Saturday, Nov. 11. They arranged a table on the university’s Chicago campus, filling it with special symbols aimed to help community members honor and remember their sisters and brothers in arms.

“The POW/MIA table is smaller than others, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her oppressors,” read a sign perched in the display’s center.

The table’s white tablecloth represents the purity of military members’ response to their call to arms. Its adjacent empty chair depicts an unknown face; symbolizing no specific soldier, sailor, airman or marine, “but all who are not present.”

“The table, itself, is round to show that our concern for them is never-ending,” the explanation states. “The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends. A purple heart medal can be pinned to the napkin.”

The display also features:

  • A single red rose reminding visitors of their families and loved ones;
  • A red ribbon signifying the love of country that inspires veterans to answer their nation’s call;
  • Petals for those who will never return home;
  • A yellow candle and respective ribbon to show the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion in honor of those have not yet been accounted for;
  • Slices of lemon to convey these military members’ bitter fates;
  • Salt representing the tears of their families; and
  • An upside-down wine glass symbolizing that these distinguished comrades cannot be with us to toast to Veterans Day honors.

Military service is a shared sacrifice. To safeguard security and liberty, the nation asks armed forces members to put themselves in harm’s way — sometimes at the price of physical injury and emotional damage, a price often shared by these individuals, their families, and communities.

Adler University’s fully online Master of Arts in Psychology: Specialization in Military Psychology degree program draws on our longstanding expertise in military cultural competency and commitment to social justice, producing psychology and mental health professionals with the specialized training to work effectively with active-duty military, veterans and their families.