Something is missing from the Riverside Dining Facility at Patrick Air Force Base: the traditional POW/MIA “Missing Man” table.
Such tables, a mainstay at military bases and veterans’ organizations, are set for six, one for each service — the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and civilian personnel — representing personnel missing in action or taken as prisoners of war.
The table was removed from Florida’s Patrick Air Force Base because of one item traditionally placed on the table — a copy of the Bible, according to Florida Today.
“The 45th Space Wing deeply desires to honor America’s Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) personnel,” commanders said in a written statement, Florida Today reported. “Unfortunately, the Bible’s presence or absence on the table at the Riverside Dining Facility ignited controversy and division, distracting from the table’s primary purpose of honoring POWs/MIAs. Consequently, we temporarily replaced the table with the POW/MIA flag in an effort to show our continued support of these heroes while seeking an acceptable solution to the controversy.”