Free food on Veterans Day, more than just a meal

Over the weekend and into Monday, many veterans waited in lines to get into restaurants offering free meals to veterans to thank them for their service. Veterans appreciate the gesture, but sometimes it can be about more than just free food.

My husband and I, both veterans, chose to go to the Golden Corral. Something happened toward the beginning of the evening that I will save for the end of the post. That incident is the type of thing that made me want to start this blog in the first place. But, I prefer to talk about the pleasant things first.

Golden Corral has been honoring veterans for 17 years. However, their military appreciation night has not only served 5.4 million meals to veterans as of 2017, it has also raised of $14 million for Disabled American Veterans.  I look forward to seeing how high that number climbs once this year’s amounts are counted.

So, I have to say, I love that the DAV was there raising money.

Before even getting into the restaurant, our local boy scout troop was handing out hot chocolate to the veterans waiting outside on this cold, rainy night.

Considering the huge numbers of people there, one might think that restaurant employees might get really stressed. If they did, they never let it show. Everyone was extremely pleasant the whole time.

A mix of people worked there that night, including both regular paid restaurant employees and volunteers from the DAV. It was great to see everyone working together, and staying pleasant and cheerful as the night wore on.

I’m not sure how many restaurants do it, but at the Golden Corral, they ask if it is alright to seat you with people you don’t know, so they can make the most efficient use of their space, and get more people served more quickly.

Most veterans are agreeable to it, considering the similarity to eating in the chow halls, mess halls, mess decks, and dining facilities.

This created a friendly, family-like atmosphere that is actually helpful to so many veterans. Our table happened to be filled with Soldiers and Sailors. However, looking around the room and the restaurant, I also saw Airmen and Marines. I also saw veterans dating as far back as World War II to as current as those still on active duty.

Overall, it was a great evening full of friendly faces, great conversation, and plenty of food.

But now I’ll touch on the only kink of the evening, and the way this post relates to women in the military.

As we walked in, the DAV has a table set up where they had informational brochures. At the end of the table a Navy veteran was handing out coupons for a free oil change and stickers that said, “I served in the _________.”

He handed my husband a sticker. I could understand it considering where we were and my husband was wearing his Chief emblem on his military-style hat, as well as his jacket.

The guy barely acknowledged I was there. So, I started to pull out my military I.D. to show I was a veteran as well.

He saw it and said, “Oh, you just show that up there, pointing in the direction of the cash registers.”

At this point, I was baffled. I just stood there looking at him with confusion on my face. I did not even know what to say.

Then my husband said, “She served too.”

And the guy handed me my coupon and sticker.

So, he was a bit older, and I know he didn’t mean any offense. But, the reason I am doing this blog focusing on women and the military, instead of talking about everyone who serves is because of these type of occurrences.

Until people stop assuming the woman can only be a spouse in a military setting, I will continue posting on this blog…even if that means I do it until the day I die.

….it was still a great night though.

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