A Response to Maine and New Hampshire Restaurants Honoring Lost Soldiers in Kabul Bombing
Devastation struck last Thursday, August 26, when word came down that there had been an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, that resulted in the loss of multiple Afghans, but also 13 U.S. soldiers. The identity of the 13 lost remained a mystery until over the weekend, the list of those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice was heartbreakingly revealed, and it included a local New England soldier -- 25-year-old Sgt. Johanny Rosario of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Make no mistake, it would've been just as heartbreaking if we had no local connection to the tragic loss, but the fact that we do just makes it hit even harder.
Bars and Restaurants Honor Fallen Soldiers
You may have noticed something interesting happening over the weekend at various bars and restaurants across not only Maine and New Hampshire, but the country overall. Restaurants set aside one table in their establishment, labeling it "RESERVED," and either poured 13 draught beers or opened 13 bottled beers and left them there.
The tables were either draped in American flags, Army boots -- one location even had a former Marine purchase the 13 beers and left his uniform in the center of the table. And magically, even if for a short blip on the radar of time, we've been all brought together in unity over something.
At first, scrolling through the socials during the weekend, whether it was Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, seeing pictures of 13 beers on a table with a message of remembrance to those we lost was just...respectful. Heartbreaking to see, but still respectful.
But then the comments section of the various pictures began populating, and while the respect remained, unity began to form as well. Unity over losing 13 young lives in such a tragic, senseless way. Suddenly, the political debates seemed to have the pause button hit on them. The usual vitriol fired digitally between strangers on social media faded, while we all seemed to find common ground and unity through heartache. In a sense, it was reminiscent of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombings, where division went out the window and we all just stood on the same side of the field.
Even in what appears to be a now-deleted post in the u Local New Hampshire group on Facebook, when one commenter unfortunately channeled all the negativity in the world by commenting "Most of them weren't even old enough to drink, this is stupid" under a post highlighting one of the many 13 beer tributes in the area, other commenters unified together to stand up for the tribute.
The ONLY negative thing I have to say about this whole situation, is that it takes something like this to cause unity in the first place. Everyone having an individual opinion and not a cookie-cutter one that everyone else has is what keeps the world so interesting, but I feel like these days if your opinion differs someone else's, it's automatically wrong and can only be solved by a dramatic verbal (or digitally written) attack (not even a debate).
Imagine how much less stressed we'd all be (and probably mentally healthier) if we just acknowledged the fact that sometimes we can have differing opinions about a topic, but still be on the same side of the greater good for all of us? Imagine how happier we'd be in our lives and in general if every single day didn't bring a knockdown drag-out fight about a topic with differing opinions.
Hopefully, someday, we'll be able to get back there without a tragic event needing to happen to launch it. For now, let's just focus on sending all the love, thoughts, prayers, and positive, healing vibes to the family and friends of those 13 soldiers that we lost.