Troop-Supporting Steakhouse Losing Its Lease

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For all of the empty words and useless posturing that most people mean when they say they "support the troops," Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse in DC, located in the basement of the Capital Hilton, gives free weekly steak dinners (with open bar, no less) to recovering veteran patients at Walter Reed Medical Center. It organizes the dinners, issues the invitations, and provides transportation and help negotiating the not-very-amputee-friendly location. The restaurant and its volunteers also provide a friendly face and ear during the other six days of the week for any veteran who needs them.

At least, they did until the Hilton, who owns the space occupied for years by O'Brien's, decided to evict the restaurant (with all of two week's notice) for "business reasons." Could it be that all of those limbless soldiers limping in once a week were putting a slight crimp on the hotel's business?

In America today, we're all happy to mouth the "Support Our Troops" slogan, slap it on our cars, and use it as a political tool to beat on anyone who opposes the war and its rather harsh effects on those troops. But if you look closely, the politicians and businessmen conveniently never do anything to support the troops that might cost them money or political points. Spend more money on armor? Nah. Increase--or hey, not decrease--money for veteran's benefits, their medical care, and treatment of their PTSD? Well, not if it means we can't have that huge tax cut for the rich. Give your employees financial support and a secure job to come back to when they're called into the reserves and sent to Iraq? Hey, that would cost money.

Yet here's a guy who puts his money where his mouth is, spending thousands of dollars to support the actual, physical troops, the ones who made the big sacrifice (for so little real benefit, sadder still), in the most direct and vital way possible--feeding them and befriending them--and for his troubles, he gets his lease yanked. That shows you how much the big corporations really care about the troops.

Hey, here's an idea--if we really think it's important to support the troops--if it's more than just a handy cliche used to gain support for a war--then veterans should be the best-cared-for people in the country. Their families should have the best homes, their kids the best schools. Maybe we could even make sure that when we send them off to war, it's a war that we really, really need to keep our country safe, that we're asking them to risk their lives for all of those things we say they're risking them for...not for some politician's pipe dream.

When you hear or see the phrase, "Support Our Troops," ask yourself, what has the person saying that, or with it pasted on his car, done for our troops lately? Has his son or daughter enlisted? Has he demanded an accounting of exactly why those troops are in harm's way? Has he considered how our use of torture in Iraqi prisons has made other countries less likely to follow those Geneva convention rules with our own soldiers? Has he noticed that our government doesn't seem the least bit interested in following the laws that our boys and girls abroad are supposed to be fighting for?

If you're offended by Hilton's last-hour eviction of Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse, here's a petition to Hilton asking them to REALLY support the troops by not evicting this restaurant that has done so much for wounded vets over the years.


Restaurant's Last Night
Posted by wizeGurl on 2006-05-02 12:10:19
Read about O'Brien's last sad night with its vets at:


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