Another Veterans Day has come and gone. As a combat veteran of World War II, I am thankful I was lucky enough to be around for the celebration. Rockdale County restaurant managers were mighty kind to veterans, serving old doughboys free meals and honoring them for their service to our country.
A free meal even in these economic times might not seem like much, but I can tell you from experience that local veterans appreciate this kind gesture offered by our local restaurants. Wherever vets went they were welcomed and treated with respect.
"Thank you for your service" was heard throughout the community. Friendly people helped make Veterans Day 2012 special. Many old soldiers visited 674 Legion Road, Post 77, American Legion. Others socialized with old friends at VFW Post 5290 or at the Walk of Heroes Memorial. Throughout the community there was a fostering of camaraderie among vets.
Supporters of veterans at various locations throughout the county encouraged them to participate in the Veterans War Memorial by purchasing an engraved paver. Veterans were asked to become immortalized in history by having a paver placed on the Walk of Heroes.
The Veterans War Memorial is located on a three-acre site at Randy Poynter Lake in Rockdale County. Chairman of the Georgia Veterans Memorial Park Foundation is disabled veteran Tommy Clack. Mr. Clack is devoting his life to advocate on behalf of all veterans and to ensure success of the Walk of Heroes. It was our pleasure to speak to him recently at the local IHOP and to see his dedication to veterans affairs. He knows firsthand of the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to protect our freedom. Tommy Clack sincerely believes that a visit to the Walk of Heroes is an educational and historical experience. We heartily agree.
A co-worker who is a U.S. Navy vet called me from Olive Garden, where he and members of his family had gone for dinner. He expressed his appreciation for the good food and excellent service and assured me he was "pigging out" there on his free meal.
Another veteran chose to go to O'Charley's, where he enjoyed his free meal. After dinner, he hung around the lobby promoting the Walk of Heroes. He served as a volunteer official greeter.
Apparently the Golden Corral buffet was popular with veterans. A friend expressed disappointment that he could not eat there because the line to get inside snaked around the building and into the adjacent parking lot.
The opinion expressed by some veterans is that on Veterans Day in Rockdale County "a good time was had by all!" Thanks to everyone who helped make the day special and God bless America and all who served. To the disabled vets who couldn't join the party, we are thinking of you.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.