HOYLETON, Ill. — As the war in Afghanistan comes to a close a local restaurant’s silent tribute to the 13 service members killed at Kabul Airport has quickly gone viral.
If you drive down Illinois Rt. 177 SSgt. Jordan Emerick Memorial Highway will take you to the town of Hoyleton.
“It’s a small, very small, farming community,” said Tina Kretzer.
“The military is very important to us and our community,” said LD Kretzer.
Kretzer’s Bar & Grill is Hoyleton’s only restaurant.
“We have sometimes on the weekends up to a three-hour wait,” said Tina Kretzer.
The restaurant is closed on Tuesday, but there’s still one table inside that’s occupied.
“People are giving their lives for our country for the freedom that we have,” said LD Kretzer. “They’re giving their all for us. Some of these service members are only 20 years old and their life is gone for us.”
A picture of Kretzer’s tribute to the 13 service members recently killed in Kabul quickly went viral online.
“Whenever we were putting it out a lot of our employees started crying because it touches their heart,” said Tina Kretzer.
It’s unclear how long the memorial will stay up.
“That table is a table of 4 that could turn several thousand dollars in a week’s time, and it doesn’t mean anything to us,” said LD Kretzer. “It’s more important to honor their lives. We change the candle once a day. Every day we put a new candle out there for them.”
“I’ll leave it there for a long time probably,” said Tina Kretzer.
A fitting reminder for the loved ones of those lost in combat that they’ll always have a seat at the table.
“We just want to say we’re thinking about you,” said LD Kretzer. “We’re sorry for what happened. I’m proud of your son or daughter that gave his life so we could have what we have. We’re truly sorry for it. If this helps you honor them, we appreciate it. That’s what we can do for you.”
“I’d give up all of those tables for them,” said Tina Kretzer.