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Super Moderator
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As I sit here tonight at my computer, I'm debating whether I should type this or not. On the one hand I feel compelled to tell the story. On the other hand I feel compelled to to keep it private for what it is: I sincerely do not want to sound uppity or magnanimous in any way. In the end I decided to tell in the hopes that perhaps some, or even just one, of might start a tradition of his or her own.

Tonight, a wet, snowy and rainy day here, I decided to go out for something to eat and have a beer. As I was sitting there at the bar, shooting the breeze with the electric company guys staying at the hotel next door, preparing for the onslaught of work the following morning, three young men came to the bar. One of them, in military uniform, sat next to me and I struck up a conversation with him by asking, "Army?". He says, "yes, sir". I asked, "coming or going?". He said he had just gotten out of basic training and his friends were treating him to a night out. We chatted and the conversation ran its course and I went back to my beer and he to joking with his friends.

When it came time for me to leave, I asked the bar tender to come closer and said very quietly, pointing at the young soldier next to me, that I'd pay his too. When I got my change and was ready to leave I leaned very close to the young man so his friends couldn't hear and asked if he minded if I told him a story. He said no and I said, "its an old man's story, you sure?". He said yeah so I told him: some thirty years ago, when I was active duty, I was sitting in a bar, in uniform, downing more than a few beers with friends. An old man next to me, himself a veteran, refused to allow me to pay my tab and told me a story. He said that an old man, a veteran, did the same to him. He paid my tab and said that someday, maybe many years from now, you'll have the choice whether to do the same thing or not. I told the young soldier that I paid his tab and that, after all these years, I finally repaid the debt I owed to that man, probably long dead by now, who owed a debt to the man before him and that someday, somewhere, maybe many years from now, he'll have the same choice to make. I ended the story by saying, "I hope you make the right choice. Keep your head down and cover your a$$."

I'm sure this is the only time I'll ever see that young man. I hope he comes home to his family and friends safe and sound. And I'm relieved to know that finally, after all these years, probably longer than some of you reading this have been living, I have paid in full a debt owed. I feel as if a boulder has been lifted from my shoulders. I've been in debt for so long.
 

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Time to Ride
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when I was in texas, it seemed the whole state was like that, I would walk into a bar ( completely underage), sit down, order a beer, and 9 times out of 10, the bartender would tell me someone paid for it, and I got 6 more coming.

no one ever let me know who paid, I was told it didnt matter, texas took care of its boys in uniform.

every weekend there was notes on the board asking for soldiers to go to someones house for a barbacue, and the one christmas I got stuck on base, they called us out, and there was a line of cars with people asking us to go have christmas with their famalies............complete with presents.


never happened anywhere else, just texas.
 

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Premium Member
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The first time i traveled with my now current boss seven years ago, he did the same thing in an airport. When i witnessed this person that i thought was the biggest jerk ever doing something like that it brought tears to my eyes and changed my opinion of him (on some levels anyway...lol). Ever since then, i always do the same thing if i have the opportunity, i feel that it's the very least i can do.

So Russ, thanks for sharing the story...changed my opinion of you also! :eek: (juuuuust picking, sweetcheeks!! the little marshmallows were actually what did the trick!!:biggrin: :biggrin: )
 

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Registered
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114 Posts
Thank you sir, and to all who do the same

I have been in the Army as a Combat Medic for 7 and a half years and during that time I have deployed to Iraq 3 times. I spent three years, several birthdays and christmas's there. during my first tour I often worried about coming home to protesters and being spit on like the stories you hear from the Vietnam era. On the contrary I have been blessed by the great people of our nation with nothing but praise and thanks. It actually brings many tears to my eyes to be walking through an airport and the whole airport stops to clap, cheer and thank the Soldiers as they walk to or from their planes. Several times people have paid my bill either for a breakfast or lunch. I have tried to tell them no but they would not hear of it. I feel bad for accepting this gratuity but am truly grateful. Thank you to everyone for treating all of the Soldiers today the way you have. I don't know if we could keep going on if our fellow citizens didn't appreciate us the way you do. We as a nation owe a huge apology for the way veterans of the past were treated.
For your gratuity sir, I thank you and promise to one day pay this debt back myself. Fortunately I have been blessed of late and am now training the future Combat Medics. At least I will not have to deploy for about two more years. Many more will get the call soon. Keep up the good work America. and from me to you truly, Thank you.
 

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Patriot Guard Rider
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562 Posts
Ive only had the chance to do it a couple times but I also pay a few bills when I can.....figured its the least I can do for someone that has the balls to do something I didnt - simple as that.

Last time was at a set down restaurant with a bar in it....people next to me were *****ing about these young guys in there drinking beer in uniform....how "unprofessional it looked".....the service men were not being loud or obnoxious, they were just having a beer with their meal. I politely explained to them that now matter how unprofessional they thought those men where they looked 10x more like assholes for complaining about it - they got the hint. When I left I proudly paid that bill and sent them a couple more rounds.
 

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The Bassman Rocketh
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25,244 Posts
Our ABATE group just got done with our annual chili feed at the Leavenworth VA Medical Center. We fed approx. 140 vets chili, ham and beans, chicken noodles, cornbread, crackers and more desserts than you can shake a stick at. We also provided gift-wrapped socks and stocking caps in gift bags for them, following it up with bingo with more goodies to hand out.

We owe so much the men and women in uniform. I love having the opportunity to give back to those who give up so much for us.

Thanks to everyone here who has served!
 

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Rolling with the big dogs
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1,019 Posts
when I was in texas, it seemed the whole state was like that, I would walk into a bar ( completely underage), sit down, order a beer, and 9 times out of 10, the bartender would tell me someone paid for it, and I got 6 more coming.

no one ever let me know who paid, I was told it didnt matter, texas took care of its boys in uniform.

every weekend there was notes on the board asking for soldiers to go to someones house for a barbacue, and the one christmas I got stuck on base, they called us out, and there was a line of cars with people asking us to go have christmas with their famalies............complete with presents.


never happened anywhere else, just texas.
You're right, it only happened to me in Texas too and not just where military bases were located. I have to admit that besides clapping as soldiers passed through the airport and volunteering at the airport USO a couple of times, I have never really thanked our troops for what they do. It's odd considering I work on a military installation, I never thought of doing it.
 

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Former Vulcan Lady
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4,225 Posts
Glad to hear you repaid the debt.

I was recently in a bar and was talking with someone who was home on leave. I bought him a beer. He protested but I told him it was the least I could do for someone who is preserving my freedom.
 

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Registered
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15,327 Posts
Thanks for that Russ, and thank you for your service also.

I've had more beers and dinners paid for that I lost count. It got to the point that I just stopped trying to say no because it never worked. I just say thanks and drink one for friends that didn't make it home. :|
 

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Serial Sport Rider
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638 Posts
You know, the first time I heard this story, I was the new recruit, fresh outta boot sitting in the Atlanta Int'l airport heading for Berlin. Since then, I've paid for many a drink or meal, whenever the opportunity presented itself. I made it out alive, but some of my friends didn't. And even though I've served, I still think it's apprporiate to thank those who continue to do so.
 
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