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'13 empty chairs': Restaurants across First Coast honor troops killed in Afghanistan

"This is a tribute to the thirteen military members who we lost in Afghanistan. Gone but not forgotten," a sign at the table at Tavern in Downtown Jacksonville said.
Credit: Facebook
Empty chairs with 13 beers poured for the troops killed in Afghanistan were seen at restaurants on the First Coast over the weekend.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — It's a gesture that's touching the hearts of patrons at restaurants across the First Coast -- a silent tribute for the 13 troops killed in last week's suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport.  

On Thursday, a table at Tavern at Hyatt Regency Downtown Jacksonville had 13 beers poured, alongside a folded American flag and hats representing the U.S. Marine Corps, Army and Navy.

A sign at the table said, "This is a tribute to the thirteen military members who we lost in Afghanistan. Gone but not forgotten."

The 13 service members killed include 11 Marines, one Navy corpsman and one Army staff sergeant. There were 18 other U.S. service members wounded in the bombing, which was blamed on Afghanistan's offshoot of the Islamic State.

RELATED: These are the stories of the 13 US service members lost in Kabul bombing

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Other restaurants across the First Coast also participated in paying tribute to the fallen troops.

Casa Maria Authentic Mexican Restaurant, located on Main Street in Springfield, honored the service members over the weekend.

"Class act tonight at Casa Maria Authentic Mexican Restaurant, honoring our fallen heroes in Afghanistan," a Facebook user said. "13 empty chairs at empty tables, and a drink for each soldier who isn't coming home. Semper Fi."

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Credit: Facebook
Casa Maria Authentic Mexican Restaurant laid out 13 beers as a tribute for the fallen service members in Afghanistan in last week's attack.

"It's not the biggest dining area, yet they used the biggest tables, right in the front and center," said patron Danielle Gomez, who shared the photo. "They didn't at all mind that large parties would likely go elsewhere, since it was dinner rush on a Saturday. I guess I thought that was cool since so many other businesses would just choose the tiniest spot so as not to hurt money earning potential."

Another local restaurant, the Boat House in Amelia Island, shared a photo of its tribute to the troops killed on Facebook.

"13 seats for 13 lives lost," the post says. "A round won’t bring them back but our hearts go out to the loved ones who won’t return. May their friends and families find peace in their bravery and the love our community shows for them."

The post has more than 300 shares.

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A Facebook user also sent First Coast News a picture of 13 coffees at Dunkin' on SR-16 in St. Augustine, which included a sign saying "13 coffees reserved for the fallen heroes."

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Credit: Provided
A Facebook user sent First Coast News this photo showing 13 coffees at Dunkin' in St. Augustine, poured to honor the troops killed in Kabul last week.

The U.S. said the attack was the most lethal day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011.

RELATED: President Biden praises Afghanistan airlift, defends departure from 'forever war'

RELATED: US says drone kills IS bombers targeting Kabul airport

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