Tears with Breakfast

IMG_0089When Cee and I were driving back from Seattle, we stopped for breakfast at Denny’s in Lacey, WA.  Denny’s is an American restaurant chain.  The food is reliable, standard American breakfast fare, the same at any Denny’s you stop at, so I didn’t expect anything that would bring me to tears.

When we walked in the first thing I saw was a table with one place setting, and a sign proclaiming it a “Military Honor Table”.  After we were seated, I went back to look at the table.

I’m a Vietnam vet, and when I started reading the explanation of the table setting I had trouble keeping it together.  I’m sorry if the pictures look a little fuzzy.  It’s hard to hold an iPhone steady when you’re trying not to cry.

War is never a good thing, never the right way to handle conflicts, but throughout human history it has become our story time and time again.  No matter what country you are from, I’m sure that this message will bring forth emotion in you as well.


I sent up a silent remembrance that morning to all of my brothers and sisters in uniform.  But I didn’t limit it to those who had been prisoners of war, or who were missing or killed in action.  I included the walking wounded as well, those men and women who struggle with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  As far as I am concerned, they are still prisoners of war.  Just because they are fighting that war inside their own heads doesn’t make it any less real.

The manager told me that the table had been well received, although her red rose seems to disappear from time to time.  I went out on Amazon when we got home and sent her two dozen artificial red roses so that she’d have a supply at hand.

Please take a moment to remember your loved ones who have served.

May peace be with us all so that someday we will no longer need this honor table.

Thank you.

Hi.  I’m Chris.  I’m an introvert.  All of my postings tend to reflect my introvert world in some way or another.  Join me and like minded introverts for a special slant on the world.

30 thoughts on “Tears with Breakfast

  1. I can see why you were brought to tears. My step father was a Ranger in the Vietnam War and my father served in the Navy during the Korean conflict. I know friends who are currently serving. The table is a nice reminder to remember the men and women who serve our country. Thank you for your sacrificed and for your service. Sadly, the suicide rate is very high for veterans of war. This is a lovely post.

  2. Beautiful post, Chris. My husband lived all his life with the demons he brought back from Vietnam. We are meant to learn from history, but. . .

  3. Great post! My wife and I have known similar feelings at some of the memorials of WW2, which act as reminders of what many relatives, and friends of our parents, went through.

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  5. Chris, this really affected me and I’m not a vet. But my grandfather, whom I lost just last month, was. He was wounded in action and received a purple heart. I never heard him speak of his service until the last few years of his life. I wonder how much he really suffered. I would just like to say thank you for your service and helping out when asked to!

    • Thank you, Emilio. It’s a shame that it’s too late for you to find out more about your grandfather’s service. It must have been difficult for him. We can honor him in our hearts.

  6. Chris – this is so beautiful – and I did not know you are a Vet too (<3) – so thx to you for that too. and what great idea – I have not been to a denny's in like 12 years – so I wonder if our local ones have this too – what a great idea!!!

    • I don’t think it’s a Denny’s thing. I think this came about because it’s close to JBLM (Joint Base Lewis McChord), which is a Army and Air Force joint base. It’s a big one, so many of the locals are either families of service people or work with them. I had never seen an honors table before. It was quite moving.

      • oh I see – so it must depend on the manager – and you wrote about your experience so nicely – I felt moved a bit right there with ya – and last year someone sent my boys two shirts from the wounded warrior project – and my boys really like the t-shirts for what they represent/support – (and nice quality too)

  7. Though I never personally served in the military, most of my siblings have. I am a member of the Civil Air Patrol and routinely at our banquets and other US Air Force dinner meetings, I have seen this presentation. The most moving is when members of the CAP or USAF bring forth headgear from the different services and place them by the seats while someone narrates the text. It is so very moving. Thanks for sharing this post.

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  9. Thank you for this post. My friend Nancy from http://livingtheseasons.com/ shared this with me. Today I went to the funeral service of a WW II Veteran. A hero. A brave man. A kind man. He was so proud of what he could do for his country. He was so honored to have served with men of such great character. Yet humble enough to never really believe he was one of them. He truly was. Thank YOU, and all of your brothers and sisters, and all those you honor you in the manner like this restaurant.

  10. I’m not military, but I have some friends, family, churchmates that have. Father-in-law- Navy Vietnam vet. Maternal grandfather- Marine, WWII (Pacific conflict). Good friends that served Army, Air Force. Met a Coast Guard guy. Learned the distinctions of such from them, especially that Marines are Marines for life.

    I went to Oahu 20-some years ago. To see Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and the Punchbowl cemetery in person… well, yeah.

    I experience complex PTSD (cPTSD), which maybe you’re aware is still a subcategory, but is supposed to be getting a category of its own next year. I wouldn’t dare to try to compare my childhood, teenage, and adult abuse to the horror of war, but, well, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I would like to think that I’ve developed some amount of empathy, different though it is.

  11. Thank You for sharing. Though not of the military, I share in your tears for those lost, those sufferring. That was a sweet gesture to order those dozen (2?) of roses for that table. I can only hope/pray those who took “needed” for sake of their own loved one.

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