The memorial at Boothbay Craft Brewery included an American flag, a sign and photos of the 13 military personnel killed in the Kabul suicide attack last week. Photo courtesy of Win Mitchell

Maine restaurants, pubs and breweries have joined a national movement honoring the U.S. troops killed by a suicide attack last week.

Businesses from coast to coast have been setting empty tables with 13 beers, one for each victim of the devastating blast near the Hamid Karzai International Airport, which killed more than 170 people. American flags, handwritten signs, candles and photos have been added to some of the simple but powerful displays.

The display at Funky Bow Brewery in Lyman that honors the 13 military personnel killed in Kabul last week. Photo courtesy of Paul Lorrain

At Funky Bow, a brewery in Lyman, owner Paul Lorrain – who is a Vietnam veteran – set out 13 beers last weekend and almost immediately a customer offered to pay for them. The display included an American flag and a handwritten sign that said the beers represented not only the 13 killed, but “the people who will miss them, their team members who will continue without them, and the many more who laid their life down before them.”

“For those who are fleeing, those who are staying, those who are fighting, those whose hearts are breaking, our thoughts are with you, you are not alone,” the sign read.

“The whole country took a deep loss,” said Lorrain, who kept the display up through Sunday and plans to reinstall it this weekend. “For us that have been there, it’s very tragic, and (the display’s message is) heartfelt from all of us.”

Fairgrounds Pizza & Pub in Cornish set a table with the 13 beers and placed a lit candle next to each glass. Brian Sullivan, owner of Just Barb’s, a small restaurant in Stockton Springs, said he saw the trend on social media, and “I just needed to do it.”

Jen Mitchell, owner of Brady’s restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, is an old friend of Lorrain, and said when she heard about his display she felt compelled to create her own. She set 13 glasses of Bud Light on a small table overlooking the water, underneath an American flag flying at half staff. Next to each glass of beer, she placed an upside-down shot glass.

A picnic table at Just Barb’s restaurant in Stockton Springs is set with 13 beers to honor the U.S. troops killed in Kabul last week. Photo courtesy of Brian Sullivan

“We left it up for the entire weekend, and so many people took pictures of it,” Mitchell said. “And it kind of went a little crazy. I’ve had emails and texts and comments from all over the country saying, ‘Thank you.’ People have been very appreciative of it.”

When Mitchell’s brother, Win Mitchell, owner of Boothbay Craft Brewery in Boothbay, heard about the memorials, he joined in as well. Mitchell’s display featured an American flag given to the family when his father, a Vietnam veteran, died and a sign explaining that the table of beers was “in memory of our 13 fallen soldiers who gave their lives serving our country by helping other humans in the endless effort to create and protect freedom.”

The memorial at Brady’s restaurant in Boothbay Harbor included an overturned shot glass by each glass of beer. Photo courtesy of Jen Mitchell

Mitchell’s son, who volunteers at the Travis Mills Foundation’s retreat for veterans in Rome, added a collage of photos of the military personnel who were killed.

“We’re all heartbroken about what went on over there,” Mitchell said. “It’s so sad. We don’t consider that we did much, we just wanted to show recognition, that’s all.”

Some restaurants around the country have refilled the glasses with fresh beer for days, while others have limited the expression of collective grief to a day or a weekend. Lorrain, whose display helped raise money for the local chapter of Rolling Thunder, a group that helps veterans throughout the year, said he planned to put it up again this weekend.

“I can only speak for me personally, but as a ’60s-era Vietnam veteran, this is very dear to my heart,” he said.


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