Beach Bistro owners Sean and Susan have been proud new Americans for over fifteen years but Sean was born and grew up in Canada, apart from the sacrifice, tribulations and tragedy of the Vietnam war.
Three years ago he was traveling with his daughter in North Vietnam.
In the markets of the old quarter of Hanoi he discovered a street vendor selling two American soldier dog tags. He was shocked to find these remnants of young men's lives being trafficked in the street. He imagined that somewhere there was a mother or a son or daughter that would welcome the tag as a memory of a lost loved one.
Sean was able to find and purchase five of the tags from various street vendors.
He brought them back to America where they resided in a glass jar on his desk while he learned that he did not have the resources to locate the families.
He finally sent the tags to the Veterans' Affairs department in hopes that they could help.
One young woman at the VA was sufficiently inspired by the task that she began a long search for the families.
We received a letter from her on September 11th, an appropriate coincidence we thought, a good day to remember fallen heroes.
She informed us that her search had been more successful than she had hoped.
She had identified all five men and found their families.
And this is where our veterans story takes a happy and unexpected turn.
They were all still alive.
Each of the expressed their deep gratitude and asked to be put in touch with us. One of the men had been on special assignment with the CIA and had no papers, or uniform to verify that he had ever been in Vietnam and only the recovered dog tag verified his service there.
We wish to extend our gratitude to all the men and women and families who have made great sacrifices to serve our country. We wish that all of their stories could have happy endings.
About the Beach Bistro: For nearly three decades, the Beach Bistro has consistently been awarded the highest ZAGAT scores in the state of Florida for “best food” and has been honored with inclusion in ZAGAT’s “Top Restaurants in America.” The Bistro also boasts a long-standing Wine Spectator Award and is enthroned in Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Hall of Fame. Beach Bistro is located at 6600 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach, 941-778-6444, beachbistro.com.