As our nation mourns the loss of 13 of our best and brightest, one local restaurant paid tribute to their service and sacrifice in a quiet and dignified way.

The Whataburger location at 1415 SW H K Dodgen Loop in Temple set a table Thursday to honor those lost in last week's attacks on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, which claimed the lives of 182 people.

Among those who lost their lives were 13 members of the U.S. military, including 20-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza of Rio Bravo, Texas.

The restaurant didn't publicize this gesture, and there was certainly an aura of quiet dignity and reverence around the table when I visited Thursday. I felt compelled to see it for myself after I saw other people from Temple posting about it on social media.

Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
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The table was set with 13 burgers, an American flag, and a framed message reading:

This table is reserved in remembrance of the 13 brave heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.

It's not unusual for restaurants and bars to set aside a table set for a meal or beers in honor of those we've lost, but no matter how many times you see such a gesture, it always hits home, especially in Central Texas. So many of us, myself included, come from families with deep ties to the military and Fort Hood.

No doubt we've all seen the arguments and political bickering over Afghanistan, and I don't want to throw gasoline onto that fire.

My hope is that if there's one thing we can all agree upon, it's that those who've given so much, and in many cases all, in defense of our way of life deserve the utmost respect and honor.

The 13 American men and women killed in last week's cowardly and shameful attack certainly do.

Thank you to those who currently serve and those who have in the past. We owe you everything.


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