Today, a small family stopped by my restaurant to have dinner. As they walked in, I did my waitress-ly duty and counted them, making sure I had enough menus and plates to take to them, "1, 2, 3". I tended the family, setting their drinks down and handing each individual their own set of plates and silverware, I continued to count them, 1, 2, 3.
As I finished placing down all the dinning essentials, the wife shyly asked, "could we get one extra set, please"? Without hesitation, I quickly brought back a 4th set.
After serving them their meal, I would make frequent stops to ensure everything was okay. The whole time they ate, I wondered when would the 4th member ever show up.
As the family finished, I approached them offering to remove their cleaned-off plates and empty glasses, making room for them. Then I noticed the 4th plate. A plate made with chips and salsa for someone who still has not showed up. Confused to whether to pick up the untouched plate or if I should wait for their family member to come and eat with them, the man at the table noticed my hesitation. He looked at me and gently spoke, "I know it's weird that we have asked you for all these extra things and that we have this all set up, but this is how we are memorializing my cousin who passed away earlier this month. He served this country, and this is how we are remembering him today. We are having dinner together". I stood quietly, my heart breaking in half, realizing the 4th member, was not going to show up tonight. Not now, not ever.
I want to take the time to thank all the men and women who risked their lives protecting and serving our country. Today, I learned what the true definition of Memorial Day really meant. It's not a picnic and barbecue by the lake kind of day, but a day to remember and honor the fallen.
Physically, the 4th person may not have been but their spirit was very present tonight. Soldiers lost protecting our country will be missed, but never forgotten. God bless and thank you all for your unselfish acts of courage. Thank you.