To honor our nation’s veterans, past and present, Columbus Technical College hosted a special Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday, November 10th in the auditorium (P100) of Carl Patrick Hall at the Columbus Tech campus. Besides the traditional posting of colors, pledge of allegiance, singing of the national anthem, and playing of “Taps,” guests witnessed the America’s White Table service and they were also treated to poignant words by a retired soldier.
Colonel Jack Collins retired from the Army after 27 years of service. Colonel Collins is a native of Troy, Alabama who served as an infantryman, commander, brigade training officer, chief of staff, and more. He quoted many historical figures like Winston Churchill and President John F. Kennedy during his remarks but the most heart-wrenching words came from his own experience as a 28 year old company commander.
“I must pause to remember the first person to die under my command. He was a 23-year-old father of two. We were serving in Germany at the time… he would have been 50 this year,” Colonel Collins said. He went on to say, “It doesn’t matter who the leaders are who the President is, who the boss is. What matters is the sovereign power of God.”
Like most in attendance, Colonel Collins was moved by the America’s White Table ritual. It honors America’s Armed Forces, especially MIAs and POWs. A small table is used, covered with a white cloth to honor a soldier’s pure heart. A lemon slice and grains of salt are placed on a plate to show a captive soldier’s bitter fate and the tears of families waiting for their return. An empty chair represents the missing soldiers while a black napkin stands for the sorrow of captivity. An upside down glass stands for a meal that won’t be eaten while a white candle represents peace. A red rose in a vase tied with a red ribbon stands for the hope that all those missing will someday come home.
All veterans received appreciation gifts and were treated to lunch after the ceremony.