Memorial Day Banquet, May 31, 2004 • JW Marriott
Board President Patricia Gaffney
Kindig welcomes the members and families of AWON,
while Charlie Troglio, Vice President Doni Morrison Troglio and MC Bob Meek look on.
AWON Treasurer Bill Chiodo
and his wife, Katie Chiodo join Charlie
and Doni Troglio, while MC Bob Meek mans the podium.
Bob Meek introduces the members
on the dais, including founder Ann Bennett Mix,
Board President Patricia Gaffney Kindig, and AWON member Mike Kindig.
Stacey Finkel and Adam Shapiro of Widmeyer Communications
were honored for their extraordinary work with the media on behalf of AWON.
Roger McKee Connor explained the significance of the Missing Man table:
"Please stand, if you
are able. Let us now turn our attention to the empty table
in front of the dais.
"The Missing Man Table
represents all our Fathers.
The items on the table are symbolic:
"The White Tablecloth calls to mind the purity of our Fathers' call to duty;
The Red Rose reminds us of our Fathers' families and loved ones;
The Slice of Lemon, recalling our Fathers' bitter fate;
A Pinch of Salt, symbolizing our tears as we remember;
An Inverted Glass - our Fathers cannot toast with us this evening;
The Empty Chair - our Fathers are not with us tonight.
"In a moment, we will observe one minute of silence while we reflect upon
our Fathers' lives and their supreme sacrifice. That minute may seem
like a long time. If so, think of the hours, the years, the decades that our
fathers never had. And the long years and lifetimes that we did not have them.
And how our world would be different if they and their comrades had not stood
in the breach when our nation was threatened.
"They died that we might live in freedom. Most of us have lived more than twice
as long as they did. Their lives were cut short, but their shadows are with us still.
Their lifeblood, shed in a thousand battles, runs in our veins even today.
"The inverted glass and
the empty chair suggest that our fathers cannot be
with us tonight, but they are with us in a very special sense. They and we
are united in spirit -- across time and mountains and oceans we are bound together
in this place, at this moment. Even across that most mysterious of all boundaries
between earthly life and death, all our fathers, and all of us, are together here tonight.
"One minute of silence please.
"At the going down of
the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."
"Let's raise our glasses in a silent salute to our fathers.
"And finally, in gratitude for their lives and in anticipation of our meeting them again,
when there will be no more parting, let's toast each other - 'In Their Memory!'"
The first picture (the Head
Table) above is from Doni Troglio, the last picture (the
Missing Man Table) is from Roger Connor, and the rest are Rik's.