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When Eric Comfort walked into the Marietta, Georgia Chick-fil-A, he was stunned by what he saw.
The local outpost of the controversial restaurant chain had set up a “missing man” table in honor of Veterans Day, complete with a framed statement and a place setting with a lone folded American flag on the plate.
A “missing man” table is a traditional place of honor usually only seen in military dining halls or at military service ceremonies. Chick-fil-A, which offers free meals to military veterans at many of its national locations, went a step further in setting up the display in Georgia on Wednesday.
According to Zap2It, the framed statement read:
“This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms. The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing and their loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted — to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s toast. The chair is empty — they are missing.”
The Marietta location’s manager Alex Korchan told local news station WSBTV that workers there contributed photos of loved ones in the military to make a poster display. Customers can write the names of their own service member friends and family on the poster as well.
“We’ve had a lot of people who have come in and seen it and been touched by it,” Korchan told WSBTV. “It’s been special to see.”
According to Military.com, many Chick-fil-A locations also have military service appreciation nights scattered throughout the year, with discounts for service members who show ID.
Photo via official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Mary Emily O'Hara is an LGBTQ reporter. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, NBC Out, Daily Dot, Broadly, Vice, the Daily Beast, the Advocate, Huffington Post, DNAinfo, Al Jazeera, and Portland's Pulitzer Prize-winning newsweekly Willamette Week, among other outlets.