A new place: Local DAV dedicates POW/MIA table in CINO Grille
by Caroline P. Rohr
On Nov. 4 at 4:30 p.m., the local Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapter dedicated a permanent Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) table on the campus of Coastal Carolina University.
“The table is something we as a chapter wanted to have at the University so veterans and others on campus can see on a daily basis and remember what the military has gone through for them,” said Jamie Lleras, chapter commander. “It’s a table of respect, and each item on the table has a symbolic meaning.”
The dedication took place inside the CINO Grille.
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All missing POW/MIA tables have a specific, symbolic setting, according to the DAV:
- The small table is set for one to symbolize the frailty of one prisoner.
- The table is round to show everlasting concern for POW/MIAs.
- The cloth is white to symbolize the purity of our men and women’s motives when answering the call to duty.
- The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these men and women, their loved ones, and friends who keep the faith while seeking answers.
- The red ribbon symbolizes the continued determination to account for the missing.
- A slice of lemon reminds us of the bitter fate of those missing, captured, and held as prisoners in foreign lands.
- A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of the missing and their families who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.
- The Holy Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst.
- The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home.
- The glass is inverted to symbolize the inability of those missing to share this evening’s toast.
- The chair is empty because they are missing, and to serve as a constant reminder of their service and sacrifice.
“The more veterans display these types of memorials, it gets our communities understanding the issue and supporting the veterans,” Lleras said.
As part of the dedication, the DAV Chapter 30 donated $1,000 to the Veterans Services Program Fund at Coastal to provide resources to veterans who may not qualify for other educational benefits. Some of those funds will be used to help student veterans who are searching for jobs purchase clothing for interviews.
“This event shows the dedication to remembering all of our service members and veterans, even the ones who never made it home,” said Greg Nance, director of the Office for Veterans Services at CCU. “Partnerships like the one we have with the DAV make it possible for student veterans to get help right here on campus.”
CCU has previously dedicated two chairs as POW/MIA memorials, one inside Brooks Stadium and the other inside Springs Brooks Stadium, which at the time of its installation in 2016 was the only public institution in South Carolina to have a missing man chair installed in one of its facilities. Those chairs were dedicated by the Rolling Thunder Chapter 3.
Coastal Carolina has been recognized frequently as a military-friendly institution, earning a Bronze distinction from VIQTORY, a veteran-owned communication and marketing firm that ranks schools and businesses according to their commitment to veteran and military personnel, in 2018.
The Bronze distinction is given to institutions that have exceptional military/veteran programs, and the award is designed to showcase their dedication, according to the criteria outlined by Victory Media. Only three other four-year higher education institutions in the state have a Bronze distinction.
CCU has received a Military Friendly School designation every year since 2011. Organizations named to this list have met a standard that measures commitment, effort, and success in creating sustainable and meaningful opportunity for the military community, which includes active duty, reserve and guard service members, veterans, and military spouses.
CCU was named to the 2018 list of Most Affordable Military-Friendly Online Colleges, one of only 60 institutions nationally and the only one in South Carolina to be included. CCU is among the top 25 for best schools for veterans by U.S. News & World Report in 2020.
In 2017, CCU was designated a Purple Heart University by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Other programs and services that assist military personnel and veterans, include a U.S. Army ROTC program, the Boeing Military to Civilian Success program, and the CresCom Bank Center for Military and Veteran Studies, which collects and preserves oral histories of veterans.