Memorial Day is a special day of remembrance for all those who have lost their lives fighting for this country. Many individuals, as well as businesses, choose to do something special to honor those who died.
One such business is the fast food company Chick-fil-A. At several locations across the country, Chick-fil-A set up an empty table in remembrance of fallen soldiers.
“It’s a tradition in military services when you have a formal celebration to have a table for those who didn’t make it back,” said Marinus Storm, a retired Navy Commander who owns a Chick-Fil-A in Florida.
“It’s called a Remembrance Table, a Fallen Soldier Table – it’s called a lot of different things,” said Storm. According to the National Leauge of POW-MIA Families, it a Missing Man Table.
The table includes many symbolic items, including a white tablecloth for the purity of the service members motives for serving, a pinch of salt for the tears shed by their families, and an empty chair that will never be filled.
“People have always been touched by it, especially veterans and the generation that has children in the armed forces now,” said Storm.
“Memorial Day is a somber holiday - it’s really about the fallen,” he continued. “The current or recent service members who come into our restaurant are really affected by this.”
Storm also sees the table as a reminder to the public that there are families that live with an empty seat at their table every day.
“There’s no doubt this is an opportunity to teach people, specifically those who don’t have any connection to the military, about the sacrifices our service members make and those losses last,” he said.
Chelsea Blackstock, Marketing Manager at a Chick-fil-A in Marietta, Georgia, also sets up a Missing Man Table at her restaurant. “The response is pretty incredible,” she said. “It touches people.”
“It shows the military service members and families that people care,” she says. “And it’s a wonderful education, especially for children and young adults, to learn more about what patriotism and commitment really mean.”