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Killeen bar puts up permanent missing man table to honor fallen, missing soldiers

Posted at 6:58 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 08:17:54-04

Millions of men and women have put on a uniform and served our country, many of whom don’t make it home.

That's why the folks at Joker’s Icehouse in Killeen are making sure that no brother or sister is left behind in their establishment.

What is commonly called a missing man table, is now a permanent part of Joker’s to make sure that every soldier that missing or dead has a place to sit.

”It represents again, the POW’s, MIA’s and the killed in action in this country that have all sacrificed and the families have sacrificed, time and energy, dedication, and loss,” said Joe Messick, Veteran and Bartender at Joker’s Icehouse.

Placed underneath a copy of the constitution, each item on the table has a meaning including an empty chair and an upside-down glass.

”The empty chair, that’s a symbolization that that person can’t sit with us and the upturned glass that means they can’t partake with us," said Messick. "All the items are important but to me, that symbolizes their pure absence.”

Having the table there is something that means a great deal to veterans like John Arceneaux.

”I wear a daily reminder with a black wristband of a friend of mine that I lost in combat, but this is a more formal symbol and setting of the sacrifice that they made.” said Arceneaux, veteran and cook at Joker’s Icehouse.

But it not just about the people he served with, and lost, that makes the table means so much to Arceneaux.

”Remembrance of those who served long before we did and gave up the ultimate sacrifice,” said Arceneaux.

The table is important to the employees, but it has not gone unnoticed by the community.

”I have had many of the veterans, people that I know who are also veterans, come up and thank us for putting the table up and the reminder of the cost of freedom, the price of freedom,” said Messick.

Every MIA, KIA, and POW soldier will always have a seat here at Joker’s Icehouse.