A U.S. Air Force base’s decision to remove a symbolic display honoring missing troops because of its inclusion of a Bible has angered some veterans.
Missing Man Tables are traditionally setup in the armed forces to honor soldiers who are missing or who have not returned from combat.
In addition to a Bible, they typically include a white table cloth, an inverted glass, a yellow ribbon, a red rose and a plate, among other elements.
Michael Tater, a 64-year-old Vietnam War vet, recently noticed that the POW/MIA Missing Man Table he typically saw at the Riverside Dining Facility at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla., was missing, Florida Today reported.
The new-found absence of the table at the base is due to a debate over the inclusion of the Bible in the traditional display.
Tater, among others, isn’t happy about the removal; he wrote a letter asking base commanders to bring it back. And it seems officials have had a change of heart in the midst of reactions like Tater’s.
They issued a written statement noting that the Missing Man Table will be returned, though they did not provide details on when this might happen, according to Florida Today.
“The 45th Space Wing deeply desires to honor America’s Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) personnel,” the release said. “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.”
The statement went on to say that commanders temporarily replaced the table with a flag honoring the missing while looking for a solution to the matter.
“I’m glad to know that its going to be back in,” Tater told Florida Today. “I’ll be looking for it.”
But there’s no confirmation the Bible will be back, as it is unclear what this solution might be, though the release said that it will be “inclusive of all POWs/MIAs as well as Americans everywhere.”
According to the National League of POW/MIA Families’ list of items traditionally present at these tables, the Bible is mentioned as having both a spiritual and patriotic purpose.
“The Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst,” reads a description.
A representative for Patrick Air Force Base told TheBlaze that officials do not yet have a press release with information on how the table will be reintroduced and TheBlaze’s inquiries surrounding the situation have not been answered.
(H/T: BizPac Review)
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