Chris Dooley

As many of you know, we recently celebrated a big holiday here in the United States, Veterans Day.  A day of remembrance for all of those who have served and are currently serving our country.  It was a very moving tribute to those brave men and women.

     A lot of places offer some kind of special in honor of the veterans.  A lot of different places offer veterans free meals to thank them for their service.  I think that's a really honorable thing to do and I applaud every business that does anything like that.  

     I know at work we had something special planned for the veterans.  We fixed a Thanksgiving dinner and had it as an option for them to eat.  It didn't matter what meal of the day they chose, it was for free on us.  It was our small token of appreciation as our way of saying thanks for everything they've done for us.

     The Monday night before veterans day, I actually wondered how many of them would come in and get their free meal.  To my surprise, there were several.  We had a paper for them to sign, showing they were a veteran.  So while they signed their paper, I got a chance to talk to a few of them and tell them how much I appreciated them.

     One of the awesome things that I noticed about all of the veterans that came in was we had them from all walks of life.  Some were elderly men, wearing their uniform hat and a shirt that showed what branch they served in.  Some of the older men were getting old and feeble & walked with a limp.  It made me wonder if it was just getting older or an injury they sustained protecting our freedom that gave them that limp.  We even had several women that had served in various branches of the service come in and eat, that was a really awesome thing to see such brave women stop by.

     A particular duo that came in later that evening stood out to me, because it was during a slow time of the day and I got to talk to them more than the ones that came during rush hour.  They were both older men, probably in their seventies or older.  They both had matching hats on and were both veterans.  It seemed like they were best of friends, because they had so much chemistry together.  They played off of each other, it was sort of hilarious.  One of them started placing their order and barely got started before pausing to look over the side of the menu.  The other guy that was with him started poking fun at him!  “Hurry up, this boy ain't got all day to wait on you” and he looked at me and winked.  I liked these two guys a lot.  He decided on what he wanted and his buddy said to just give him the same thing, that he'd be simple today.

     I brought them their drinks out to the table while they waited on their food and I overheard their conservation.  They were talking to each other just like I talk to my friends now.  They talked about the weather, how bad the winter would be, how Kentucky basketball looked and everything in between.  It just warmed my heart on a cold day to look out and see two old friends 'shooting the bull' on veterans day.  I didn't know either of those men, but it seemed like they'd been friends for years.  Maybe they'd been in a war together and still been close after all these years.  Or maybe they hadn't seen each other in forever and just connected on their special day.  I didn't know, but I sure enjoyed their company and the company of everyone else that stopped by.

     I don't know an exact count on how many veterans we served that day in total, but I know it was several.  I was proud to take a small part in something like that.  It was actually the first time in years that I'd helped do something special for our veterans and it was good for my soul.  We don't really understand the sacrifice that these men and women have made for our freedom.  Some of them paid the ultimate price with their lives.  Others paid a price and still pay it every day with the memories of the things they've done and seen.  That's why we should pay our ultimate respect to our veterans, not just on November 11th but every single day!  I salute all of you!  God bless America!

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