Villa Verde honors Memorial Day with ‘Missing Man Table’

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Villa Verde is honoring the memory of fallen soldiers by setting a table for those who can’t be with us this weekend.  

“People are giving their lives for us, that’s the least we can do here,” says Yoerick “Jojo” Bastardo. 

The missing man table sits in the middle of Villa Verde’s restaurant. 

“There will always be that empty chair, it just kind of represent and honors those people,” said Bastardo. 

Bastardo works at Villa Verde. He’s the son’s owner and says they’ve held this tradition as long as he can remember.  

“It kind of humbles me, because I don’t have anyone myself that’s in the military, but when we were setting up the table, that people were sacrificing everything,” Bastardo said.

The entire table is steeped in symbolism. The salt represents the tears of family members, the lemon represents their bitter fate, the shoes on the table are unique to Villa Verde. They were given by a veteran.  

“He said here’s my boots, these are the last boots,” Bastardo said. “Before he retired, he said ‘these are the last boots I’ve worn’ before he retired, and he gave it to us and we put it on the table,” said Bastardo

He hopes this table helps people realize the importance of Memorial Day and the sacrifices soldiers make while serving their country 

“It means a lot more than people think, I mean fighting for your country, not seeing your family for a certain amount of time, all I can really say is thank you,” Bastardo said.

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