This is not just Veterans Day, but the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty that signaled the end of the Great War. When Jeff Prah, the Meat Man at Marczyk Fine Foods, asked if the markets were doing anything special to mark the day, partner Barbara Macfarlane did some research and found that restaurants across the country, many of them chains, already offer deals for vets. She asked for other suggestions, and received this response from Josh Butch, cashier, data guy and Marine:
"I think acknowledging Veterans Day is thoughtful and always appreciated," he wrote. "I didn't trudge off to war for retail discounts. I did do it because I love my country and the people in it, so when someone sincerely thanks me, I'm sincerely happy and would never ask for anything else. I can only speak for myself...but I would be pretty impressed with a hug station at the front door."
Butch followed with this: "Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day. I've lost more than I could ever explain after leaving the military. War wasn't as horrifying as what's happening at home. Vets need a hug right now, and we should be the ones to do it."
And Marczyk will be. In response to Butch's suggestion, Macfarlane says, there will be a vet-hugging booth just inside the door of the market at 5100 East Colfax Avenue, starting at 10 a.m. today. You can hug a vet or get hugged by a vet, and Butch himself will be taking the first shift.
It's a heartwarming concept on this cold, snowy Sunday. And if you can't make it out, Marczyk has added a page to its website where you can offer virtual hugs for veterans.