Panama City- To remember, to pay tribute, and to chow down. That was the theme Monday night at the Golden Corral Restaurant in Panama City as hundreds of local veterans were treated to dinner at no cost.
"I think it's a wonderful thing," said U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Americo Dionizio.
The line wrapped around the building for much of the night. Some had to wait 30 minutes or more. But that didn't seem to bother most, and it wasn't just the free food keeping them patient. The vets NewsChannel 7 spoke with said the comradery was what they looked forward to most.
"It makes me feel proud. These people are wonderful people. They've given up their time, their youth, most of it, in the service of our country," said Army Veteran Alberta Lindley.
Navy Veteran Tracy Harris said just getting to talk to his fellow veterans meant the world.
"We can talk about the same thing because we've been there. It does make me feel good," said Harris.
Monday's event was also a chance for the younger generation to stand side by side with their idols. Mosley High School's Junior R.O.T.C. members got to meet the people who've been and done what these students hope to be and do one day.
"It's inspiring and it just makes you want to do it even more," said J.R.O.T.C. member Faith Long.
All walks of life came together not just for a meal, but to share and learn. Monday was no doubt a life-changing experience for everyone.
"It doesn't feel like we're all alone. We have done something for our country, and the comradery, the friendship makes you feel good," said Harris.
Proceeds from Monday's event will benefit the Disabled American Veteran's Organization. Last year the Golden Corral Corporation donated more than $1 million.