Pete’ Diner Supports Troops at US Capitol

Diner on Capitol Fence Line Tries to Spread Good Where Bad Happened

Pete's Diner. Courtesy: A. George

The Capitol is still a fortress. But a bit of good is happening right along the fenceline at Capitol Hill mainstay Pete’s Diner.

Pete’s Diner (212 Second St. SE) has been a neighborhood hangout for decades. Now, it has been transformed into “support central” for the nearly 2,500 troops, US Capitol Police and support staff who have have come from every part of America, called to secure the Cpitol Buillding.

In January, Owner Gum Tong, known as Mrs. Gum, said she was surprised by the number of uniformed military personnel coming into the diner looking for a hot meal and a place to take a break from the occupation. What started as a meal on the house has grown to nearly 5,000 meals to date provided free to the troops.

Longtime patron and retired Naval Captain Phillip Bush admires what Tong is doing. “They are all amazing,” he said. “What started out as [simply] helping a few of our troops has grown to a full time operation.”

In addition to meals, people are sending supplies for the troops from throughout the country. Pete’s Diner is receiving donations that range from Aspirin to snacks to canned food – anything to help out our troops in their dubious campaign.

A supporter of President Trump, Captain Bush said he sees no reason for the occupation and the ten-foot-high fences surrounding the Capitol. Still, he said he is happy the troops who are here are being supported.

Mrs. Gum glowingly shows cards, letters and supplies sent from throughout the country. The diner is feeding soldiers from all over the country, and those behind at home want to show their support. “Just today we have orders for meals for troops –20 meals for troops from New Mexico, 53 for those from Maine, 60 for a group of troops from New York and another 15 from California.” A total of 148 orders came in a single day.

Having come to the US as a student nearly two decades ago, Mrs. Gum sees what she is doing as a way to say thank you to a country that has given her so much opportunity. Still, she is clear on her views of the fence itself.

“The wall is shocking,” she said of the fence, which is right outside her window. “Not only for us but for the whole world to see. We don’t understand what the point of it is – it is frightening and maddening at the same time and we want it taken down.”

As an immigrant herself, Mrs. Gum joined with Captan Bush to raise tens of thousands of dollars to pay for many of the meals to provide the troops, in spite of what they see as a dubious mission occupying the nation’s Capitol.

Pete’s Diner plans to continue to support the USCP and others sent to guard the fence on Capitol Hill.

Anyone wanting to help can send care anything for the troops and Capitol Hill Police care of Petes Diner, 212 Second St. SE, 20003.