Sierra Grande School hosted its annual Veterans Day program on Monday morning.
Sierra Grande fourth grader Iava Oringdulph-Williams sang the National Anthem after the flag raising ceremony. Symbols of a missing soldier's life were part of the POW/MIA ritual.
Courier photos by Lauren Krizansky
BLANCA/FT. GARLAND — Sierra Grande School hosted another memorable Veterans Day program on Monday.
The event included traditional flag raising ceremonies and singing of the national anthem, speeches from American Legion District 9 Vice-Commander Carol Kennedy and Costilla County Commissioner Crestina Martinez, a slide show and a presentation of pins and letters to the veterans. American Legion Post 142 Commander and Chaplin Bianes Elias Garcia conducted a traditional POW/MIA ceremony to recognize those who are not able to join the celebration.
The POW/MIA ritual
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 this evening, 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 near the head table. 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.