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U.S. Air Force under fire for booting Bible from MIA-POW display

- The Washington Times - Friday, April 4, 2014

The U.S. Air Force at one base in Florida gave the boot to its Missing Man Table, saying the included Bible among the display items that are staged to honor those who've served but not returned was causing too much controversy.

Facing fire, the base commanders then brought back the display — but switched out the Bible for the U.S. flag, Florida Today reported. That's hardly quieted the critics.

The displays, known the nation over as a gentle way of reminding of the missing in action and prisoners of war, generally include a white table cloth, an upside-down glass, a yellow ribbon, a red rose and plate, and other items — like the Bible. But apparently, commanding officials at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla., received so many complaints about the Bible, they felt compelled to tear down the whole Riverside Dining Facility display, at least of the time being, Florida Today reported.

Michael Tater, a Vietnam veteran who's 64 years old, told the local publication that he noticed the absence of the Bible at that facility's POW/MIA Missing Man Table and, shortly after, expressed disapproval, Florida Today said.

He wrote a letter to base commanders requesting the return of the display — and base commanders did, but absent the Bible.

"The 45th Space Wing deeply desires to honor America's Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) personnel," the base put out, in a written release. "Unfortunately, the Bible's presence or absence on the table at the Riverside Dining Facility ignited controversy and division, distracting from the table's primary purpose of honoring POWs/MIAs."

So the commanders said they replaced the Bible with the American flag, at least until they could find a better solution.

But now the National League of POW/MIA Families is upset, saying the "Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst," and doing away with that part of the display is an injustice, The Blaze reported.

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