November is also National Military Families Month, which makes the ceremony even more fitting, Cassavant says

    The annual Veterans Day Program at Highland School always fills the school gymnasium with kids and the veterans they know and love and have invited to be recognized for their service, and there are always plenty of poignant moments. Among the highlights are students reading their “What a Veteran Means to Me” essays, the student choir singing patriotic songs, and the introduction of veterans in attendance.

    Tuesday’s Veterans Day Program included a new addition, the “Missing Man’s Kid Table,” a variation on the traditional “Missing Man’s Table” ceremony that Bill and Jamie Cassavant of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon of Crookston have conducted on numerous occasions at various Crookston locations as part of Veterans Day programs to remember Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. The “Missing Man’s Kid Table” is meant to show what it’s like for children and families when a soldier makes the ultimate sacrifice. With November also being National Military Families Month, Jamie Cassavant said the ceremony is even more fitting.

    Tuesday in the Highland gym, Jamie Cassavant read the introduction of the Missing Man’s Kid Table and then Bill Cassavant assisted Highland students in setting the table with things like a pair of figure skates and a baseball glove with a ball tucked in the pocket. Students who set the table included Brannon Tangquist, Keona Arnold, Emily Boucher, Calleigh Fanfulik, Jaden Newquist, Gabrielle Corrales, and Ava Oakes.

    Here’s the full Missing Man’s Kid Table script, and what each item placed on the table symbolizes:

    “When an Air Force officer was asked what he needed while deployed to Iraq, he said, ‘Please don’t send cookies, care packages, or socks. Just help take care of our children.’

    “Our country supports its military in times of war through community efforts,” said First Lady Laura Bush in 2004. “We have a great capacity to care for the home front. Now is the time to tend to the needs of the military child.”

    The Military Child’s Table Setting Ceremony is a unique program to involve our community to honor the sacrifices of our veterans -- but also the sacrifices made by the family, including the military child, their friends and classmates.

Let’s set the table:

    • The potted flowering plant symbolizes that a military child flowers and grows where they are planted.

    • The hand spade recognizes that the family may be transplanted to a new place in the world at a moment’s notice.

    • The birthday hat and unlit candles, along with the baseball and glove, the ice skates and ballet slippers represents all the special occasions that are missed or delayed.

    • The family photo shows a child with their uniformed parent which demonstrates our country’s strength.

    • The final touch to the table setting is the American Flag to remind us that all military families are united in their commitment to national service, at home or away.

    “Let this table show us all that when one parent deploys the whole family deploys.  We all need to be good friends and neighbors to our military families.  

    “Thank you to all our veterans and their families for protecting our families, our friends and our community.”