· ·

The Purple Heart Banquet: A Humbling Experience


Purple Heart banquet

On one night not to long ago a day that our nation has set aside to honor those soldiers who earned a purple heart for bravery in fighting for our freedom- I was privileged to attend a banquet that our county held to honor those who have earned this prestigious honor.

Purple Heart Ice Sculpture

But I admit that I had a little bit of a selfish reason behind attending. A  lot of the people that were organizing and attending the banquet are like family to us. You see my dad was a huge part of our veteran community. And he has a huge part in making sure Veterans are honored. So not only did I attend to honor those who serve and to his friends who are like family to us but also to honor his memory as well.

purple heart program

Before I get into the ceremony, I want to just say that I felt his presence there. But in another way he was sadly missed.

purple heart entrance

Now onto the ceremony, I have never attended a banquet such as this one before. As each Purple Heart recipient’s name was called, they walked underneath an arch of swords and were escorted to their seats by a member of the JROTC program from one of our local high schools. They not only honored those Purple Heart recipients that are still living but also those that have passed away.

Freedom's not free

I think the most moving part of the whole banquet was when our attention was called to the POW/MIA table that was set up at the front of the room near the stage.


Let me explain the meaning of this table, and then join me for a moment of silent prayer.

  • The table is round – to show our everlasting concern.
  • The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.
  • The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers.
  • The red ribbon symbolizes our continued determination to account for them.
  • A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land.
  • A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.
  • The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead.
  • The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
  • The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast.
  • The chairs are empty – they are missing…………….. (moment of silence)

Seymour wait staff

I would remiss if I didn’t mention that the waiters and waitresses for the night were actually a members of the Air Force stationed at our local Air Force Base who volunteered their time to wait on us. Great job Seymour!!! And they did it with a smile as well.

To attend an event like this was such an honor- one that I am sure we didn’t deserve. And yet again I look back and see all the Greene women (My mom, my 2 remaining sisters and myself) standing strong in the face of adversity pushing through the sadness to honor those who have served. I will admit when Doc, the same man who has become a dear friend to us as he was to my dad played Taps on his bugle (He played at my dad’s funeral!) Our eyes still filled with tears as we still greatly miss our biggest hero- My dad. He might not have earned a Purple Heart but he had a heart that was so full of love.

Today here is my call out to you if you see a military person or a veteran thank them for all that they have done for our country. Just a simple Thank you goes a long way.

Similar Posts:

Similar Posts


  1. I am married to a vet myself, so I have a special place in my heart for those men & women that have served our country!

  2. Thank you to your dad for his service! I have the deepest respect for our military members.

  3. What a wonderful (yet sad) way to remember your father and to be a part of such a strong and worthy community. The POW/MIA table is especially powerful. Being ex-military myself I can understand the powerful emotion that must have filled the event.

  4. I also have been to a purple heart ceremony in honor for my grandfather but it was after he had passed away at a WWII Banquet. I must say that I cried the whole time and was so proud to be related to such a man.

  5. The meaning of the table is beyond words. Love the symbolization behind each item on the table and thank you for sharing that with us. And yes they are heroes and deserve our thanks for all their sacrifices.

  6. I love that you explained what each thing on the table meant. I honestly scrolled right past it until I read all the details, then I had to go back up and look more closely. I’m sure it was a great event.

  7. I really enjoyed reading about the meaning of the table items.

    Thank you for sharing your special evening with us all, and for the reminder to thank our veterans!

  8. What a great event. I’m a Navy wife and think events like these are very important. We must all remember that freedom isn’t free.

    Thank you for sharing the event.

  9. I was really touched when you explained everything in the round table. I just cannot imagine the pain these families have to go through. Thank you to all the war veterans. Thank you for all the freedom we enjoy today.

  10. We really don’t do enough to make sure our veteran’s feel special. I have a few in my family that have served. My grandfater was even a POW in WW2.

  11. What a powerful ceremony – I’m sure your dad was there with you. It’s so special how significant each of those items on the table are.

  12. Thank you for sharing, it probably wasn’t easy putting it into words. It is surprising how two simple words like thank you can mean so much.

  13. My dad served in the Air Force and I think it is so important to thank veterans for their service. I got goosebumps when I read the meaning of the items on the table. Very moving.

  14. This was absolutely awesome and the meaning of the table is something new that i know now. Our vets are so special and they deserve the utmost respect and honor. Thank you for this post.

  15. My dad actually won the Purple Heart in Korea. I have two brothers and a son in law who are all military. We certainly appreciate theirs, and all who have served.

  16. What an honor to be able to attend this event. It looks like there were many powerful moments as our veterans were remembered and honored.

  17. Thanks for sharing. The meaning behind the table was truly amazing, and my heart goes out to all those families who are just waiting to know something.

  18. How amazing, and what a great way to honor our veterans. I especially like the significance of the POW/MIA table. I couldn’t imagine the pain of now knowing where our loved one was, or knowing they were suffering in an enemy camp. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  19. Lovely event! I love the respect and appreciation you(the USA) have for your soldiers – it’s truly inspirational!

  20. Thank you for this post. It is so important to remember and honor our military. I really like how you described the meaning behind every item on the POW/MIA table. Definitely a humbling experience, and I’m glad you got to attend.

  21. Powerful. Thank yo so much for sharing the event and the meanings, especially like the significance of the POW/MIA table. We certainly appreciate all who have served.

  22. Wow. What an amazing thing to be a part of. I can tell you, there is no way I would not be shedding a tear at such a touching event. And the POW/MIA table. Speechless. I love how everything symbolizes something so important. Absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for sharing.

  23. I love the symbolism like the round table for everlasting concern. Our lives would be so different without those that served and it seems like such an honor to be at the banquet. Very touching.

  24. I love the symbolism throughout the POW table. I don’t have any close military family but I can imagine this was a great honor to attend.

  25. My father earned his purple heart when he was 18 during his 1st tour in Vietnam. My husband, sister, and brother-in-law are all veterans. I wish more events like these were made known. What an honor to be in attendance with these fine servicemen. I especially loved learning about the POW/MIA table and the meaning beyond it.

  26. My 90-year-old father is a former WWII Marine, so I “get” this post on many levels. May God bless our service men and women, and may they know how very grateful we are for their service. ?

    Thank you for this post!

  27. What a touching post. I had to hold back the tears when I started to read what the empty table and its components meant. That everything on the table was symbolic of some part of what war stands for. What a wonderful and sad experience to have been present at this event. Thanks for sharing such an experience with us.


  28. This had to be an experience well worth remembering. I’m so utterly grateful for all those who serve to protect our country and our freedoms we often times take for granted.
    I’m glad you got to experience this banquet event. Thank you for sharing with us.

  29. What a lovely description of a beautiful event. Thank you for the MIA/POW table explanation. All of the items are so significant and speak so loudly. So sorry for the loss of your dad, but so happy that you are able to continue to support and participate in the thing that he held so dear.

  30. Thank you for sharing this beautiful event with us. I’m glad you had an opportunity to feel closer to your Dad while attending. Such events are a great way to recognize the soldiers that fight to protect our freedom!

  31. I really liked all the symbolism on the POW/MIA table. Thanks for sharing about this awesome ceremony you were able to attend!

  32. Sorry for the loss of your father. What a great way to honor him and his service. Too many people these days don’t realize the sacrifice service men and women make to serve this great country. Thanks for sharing this experience. Blessings to you and your family.

  33. It is never easy serving or being the family of those who serve. It is brave for everyone involved and should not be taken forgranted and always be appreciated. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  34. Your dad sounds like an amazing man, I’m sure he was missed that day. Supporting an honoring our veterans sadly often gets overlooked in our society, which is a real pity.

    Thanks for sharing your photos from this event, it looks like it was a very beautiful and emotional day for all.

  35. Sounds like a wonderful way to honor veterans and current members of our military. My dad was also a veteran, WWII, and I think of him often, thankful for his service. Thanks for sharing!

  36. What a neat experience. A few years ago I got to attend the retirement of my BIL. It was a very special event!

  37. So touching. We were prior military and I’m always so thankful when the military is appreciated. Purple Heart is an amazing story for anyone that has earned it.

  38. Incredible. That had to be such a moving experience for you! I wish there were more of those banquets around. I think it is very important to honor our soldiers- the men and women who put their lives on the line for us. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Very touching post and educational – thank you for explaining the meaning of each item on the POW/MIA table. Sad but important information to know. Your dad was obviously a hero to you and your family – thank you for sharing about his service to our country.

    Thank you again!

  40. Wow – that does seem like a wonderfully respectful and touching service!! Thanks to your Dad for his service. My husband was in the Army reserves and did serve for a year in Iraq (I was not married to him them).

  41. What a beautiful ceremony! Such a wonderful way to honor those who have served and those who have died fighting for our freedoms.

  42. It’s so important to remember our veterans! My grandpa won a Purple Heart for his service at the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. My other grandpa was at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. They’ve both passed on, but we cherish their memories!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.