Lone Place Setting -America’s White Table–You Are Not Forgotten

white table

Families gathering, feasting, and celebrating together is what it’s all about. Amidst the baking of pies, the mashing of potatoes, and the basting of the turkey, remember not only to count your blessings, but remember those serving and protecting us.

This time of year, I always encourage people to start a new tradition by setting an extra plate at your table to remind us of our troops unable to be home with their families and friends during the holidays.

My friend, Patricia Tilton is the creator of the wonderful blog, Children’s Books Heal. One of her book reviews shared the story of America’s White Table by Margot Theis Raven.

This article describes the tradition held in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy dining halls across America to honor the men and women who have served their country.

“We cover a small table with a white cloth to honor a soldier’s pure heart when he answers his country’s call to duty.

“We place a lemon slice and grains of salt on a plate to show a captive soldier’s bitter fate and tears of families waiting for loved ones to return.”

“We push an empty chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here.”

“We lay a black napkin for the sorrow of captivity, and turn over a glass for the meal that won’t be eaten.”

“We place a white candle for peace and finally, a red rose in a vase tied with a red ribbon for the hope that all our missing will return someday.” 

“You are not forgotten so long as there is one left in whom your memory remains.”

As we welcome family from near and far, start a new tradition for Thanksgiving. Set a plate or your own white table.  Thank God for these brave men and women and all the freedoms we have. May God bless our servicemen and woman, our veterans, and our families and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Together Again

This photo was taken in 1947–an engagement picture of  my parents, Joe and Mary Vayo.

My Dad was in the Navy for four years. When he returned home to Fairport Harbor, Ohio, he met this sweet girl at the  local  soda fountain.

Married June 19, 1948, they were together for 55 years.My Dad would sing to my Mom and they would go dancing at Euclid Beach Park.

Yesterday, June 28, 2011, my Mom passed away. Rejoice with me as my parents are once again dancing together. And my Dad is singing in her ear, “I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck, a hug around the neck, I do , love you.” I miss you Mom and Dad.

The Sweet Mornful Sounds of Taps

Joseph Vayo

The sweet mournful sound of taps honored my father’s leaving, echoing in the cold December morning. The silence was shattered by a color guard firing a twenty-one-gun salute. Our country’s flag fluttered, as it lay draped over the casket of a hero, Joseph Vayo, a Navy veteran of WWII.

This description of my Dad’s funeral starts my story, “Boots to Ground” in Love You More Than You Know. Whenever I hear this tune played at flag ceremonies or other funerals, my mind drifts back to that morning in December of 2003. I miss you Dad.

In 1965, Nini Rosso, a trumpet player and composer, wrote II Silencio, using the melody of  taps as an extension for his song. This video is from a concert in the Netherlands featuring a music student, Melissa Venema.

Afghanistan: Mike Bowersock’s Blog

Mike Bowersock’s blog  says ” thanks to the Ohio National Guard 112th Engineer Battalion for letting us tag along and take a small peak into the lives of those who are helping make our lives better. Thanks. MGB.”

Mike traveled to Afghanistan and will start stories on Febuary 28,2011 about these brave soldiers and their families left behind. Thank you Mike for telling their stories.

OPW-Ohio Professional Writers


Members mingling

What a  wonderful meeting listening to three speakers (I was one for Love You More Than You Know), sharing ideas, tips, talking about writing, and eating lunch.


Vivian Goodman, President of OPW

My Story: Colleen Dunn

We were just getting ready to leave for parents’ weekend in Chicago and John was leaving the next day for his Navy assignment in Guam. 

 “Thank God you’re not going to Iraq”, I said.

John replied, “Well Mom, actually I am”.

Hitting me with a bat couldn’t have been more of a shock. I went out in the garage and cried.

You can’t imagine the helpless feeling of existing in Fairview Park with your son half way around the world and every second not knowing where he is. John was a Seabee, which gave some comfort…once he was there; he wasn’t supposed to be moved until it was time to return home. We received calls that he was chosen to be moved several times, once on Christmas Eve and again on New Years Eve.

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