Mission BBQ offered to feed World War II veterans free of charge on the anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. First Coast News went out to find some during the lunch hour, only to find there weren't any. What we did find, highlights why these veterans are so important.
Every day at noon, the staff and customers at the Town Center restaurant stand and sing the national anthem.
On Friday, the anthem was followed by a moment of silence for those who died in the second World War and those who died in the decades since.
Every year, there are fewer and fewer. So few, in fact, there weren’t any at the restaurant to enjoy lunch on the house.
"That makes me very sad,” said Glenda Styers.
Her father is among those gone but not forgotten.
"He fought in Iwo Jima,” Styers said.
She went to Mission BBQ to remember her father, marine Glen Hyer, who died three years ago. She also went to the restaurant to be in a place full of people thankful for his sacrifice.
"I appreciate mission barbecue … that they recognize our veterans,” Styer said.
Everywhere you look inside the restaurant, you see salutes to service -- from the medals on the wall to the people who work there.
“My grandfather served in World War II,” said Denise Neff, manager.
Her grandfather, Guy Neff, served in the Air Force. His picture hangs on the wall, as do those of dozens of others, friends and family who served their country.
"It's very important for us and for the founders of our company that we make sure that we keep their passion alive,” Neff said.
That becomes harder with each year that passes and each veteran lost.
"It's really sad because they're dying at such a fast rate,” Styers said. "I'm just thinking about President Bush who died. That's another one to mark off the list.”
Soon the greatest generation will be just a memory, and it's our mission to make sure that memory doesn't fade.