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Immediately after the Pentagon issued a statement Saturday announcing the names of the 13 U.S. service members who were killed during the bombings at the airport in Kabul, tributes began to pour in from all across the country.
One tribute came from the St. Matthews Texas Roadhouse in Louisville, Kentucky, courtesy of store manager Tyler Scott Parker.
Parker set up 13 beers — one for each of the killed service members — at a table inside the establishment.
He also lowered the restaurant’s American flag to half-staff.
13 Doorbells￼ will ring.
13 Flags will be given.
13 Will never come home.
After the post went viral, Parker spoke with Fox News about the inspiration for his posts. He said both of his grandfathers served in the Korean War, and his stepfather served during Desert Storm.
“It kind of hits home for me. When your family has served, and they’ve made it back, and then you think these 13 who have fallen and are not going to make it back,” he said.
While pondering how he could pay tribute, country music star Luke Bryan’s hit song “Drink a Beer” popped into his head.
“So I just was like, let’s go for it, and let’s put beers out on the table,” he explained.
He added that St. Matthews Texas Roadhouse suffered its own loss of life this year.
“Founder and CEO Kent Taylor announced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic he would forego his own salary in order to keep paying his workers as pandemic shutdowns upended the restaurant industry,” Fox News notes.
“Then in March of 2021, he took his own life after struggling with post-coronavirus symptoms, including severe tinnitus, the company and family members said in a statement.”
Though Taylor never served, his dad reportedly did, and so he was a staunch supporter of the military.
“We do a big Memorial Day, we do the Fallen heroes table…just a little way to give back and show that we care and that we’re here for them,” Parker said.
“Before his death, he pledged funding for a study that aimed to help veterans deal with tinnitus,” according to Fox.
Meanwhile in Nashville, Tennessee, the Redneck Riviera Bar and BBQ performed its own tribute by reserving 13 beers “for the 13 who aren’t coming home.”
The tribute was set up by the restaurant’s owner, country music legend John Rich:
My staff and I @rnrbarnash send our deepest respect and gratitude to #The13 who gave their lives in Afghanistan. As a symbol of our love for them, we’ve reserved their place at the bar. #GodSaveAmerica pic.twitter.com/A60s4erYaw
— John Rich (@johnrich) August 28, 2021
Rich is also a staunch military supporter. A couple years ago he launched Redneck Riviera, a program that “celebrates the men and women who make America the greatest nation in the world.”
In 2019, Fox News ran a report revealing that the organization had “donated more than $200,000 to Folds of Honor, providing 40 scholarships to the children and spouses of our fallen and disabled service members.”
“There’s a lot of great organizations in the U.S. that support veterans and families of veterans and active duty,” he said at the time.
“My favorite one is Folds of Honor. Matter of fact, I wear their T-shirt all the time; I wear it on stage, I wear it every day. Folds of Honor puts kids through college who lost a parent in combat fighting for our country or a spouse who lost their spouse.”
Now moving on over to Ohio, multiple restaurants in and around Cleveland have also been paying tribute to the 13 deceased service members, according to local station WKYC.
“Niko’s Bar and Gyros on Friday reserved a table in honor of the 13 American troops who were killed in the events in the middle east. Additionally, the Northeast Ohio restaurant announced that they will donate a portion of proceeds raised in the coming weeks to those affected by the attack in Kabul,” the station reported.
“The Ironwood Cafe in Westlake also posted Friday afternoon that they would reserve a table for the troops killed in Afghanistan, sharing the message with their Facebook followers.”
This table will be reserved today for the 13 Americans that lost their lives. Also, starting today until September 11th, every beer sold a $1 will be donated to the families.
Today we reserved a table for our 13 Americans not coming home. 🇺🇸
“If they were to walk in here, all of them, and they sat at a table and told me they just got back from Afghanistan, I would’ve bought them a round of drinks,” Niko’s owner, Niko Moulagianis, said to WKYC.
“It’s something just so small that I can do. It hit home to me. … We need to take care of our military, recognize our military, the fallen servicemen,” The Ironwood Cafe general manager Shannon Vazquez added.
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