Nearly two hundred Marines from Camp Pendleton, California, feasted at a local restaurant on Thanksgiving morning, their famous “Marines’ Hymn” echoing around the walls of H.H. Cotton’s as the grateful Marines sang, much to the delight of their generous hosts.
The event was hosted and organized by the couple that owns and runs H.H. Cotton’s, Chris and Maureen Aitken, while local politicians, Rep. Mike Levin and Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Katrina Foley helped them dole out the food, piling high the plates of Marines with Thanksgiving fixings.
Such is what the local San Clemente Times reported, adding that the couple decided to host the event because their parents passed on to them the importance of philanthropy and because they realize how much it helps the young Marines who are away from home for the holiday.
Chris Aitken, commenting to the outlet on the matter, said, “One (Marine) mom just called in right now and FaceTimed us, thanking us. For most of these Marines, it’s their first Thanksgiving away from home, so it’s really a privilege to be able to do this.”
Maureen added that the event was also a positive one for the community in that it gave people who had been divided for years a change to come together and share something in common. In her words: “San Clemente has been pretty divisive over the last few years, but this is something (for which) everybody can come together.”
In a Facebook post thanking community members for their help in hosting the event, Maureen added, “Thank you to those of you who donated to help us treat 180 young Marines to an amazing Thanksgiving !! Thank you Capo Ford , Julie Brooks Mains Law Firm, Sea View Pediatrics and all of you who donated!!thank you Antoine’s and Jimmy Johns.”
Supervisor Foley commented as well, telling the Marines, “I hope that everybody—wherever you’re from—I hope you know that this is another place that you can always call home. The greater community here in South Orange County and North San Diego County, we love our Marines. We’re so thankful for you.”
The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce took to Facebook to post about the event, captioning it, “Now in its sixth year, H.H.Cotton’s will once again host approximately 200 Marines at their Annual Thanksgiving Meal Event. Please help and support this special day! 🍗 🇱🇷 #sanclemente #hhcottons #marines #thanksgiving #thegiftofgiving”
Watch the event here:
H.H. Cotton’s, describing its history on its website, says, “While little is known about the relationship between San Clemente founders, Ole Hanson and Henry Hamilton Cotton (known as “H.H. Cotton”), one thing is certain; the two friends shared a deep passion for what is now our Southern California home. While Ole often gets most of the credit, it was actually Hamilton that held the note on the land that made it possible for Ole to realize his dream. It was also Hamilton who built our most famous residence, the H.H. Cotton estate, more affectionately known as President Nixon’s “Western White House.” It’s also a little known fact that Hamilton was quite the party host, and even hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt at times during his west coast swing. It is with that same spirit that we hope to entertain you, our VIP’s.”
It continues, “Much like the founders did so many years ago, four local San Clemente families have come together to see a vision through. Our vision is to provide other local families with a lively fun place to gather and enjoy delicious food and drink in the company of friends and neighbors. Located on the Historic downtown street of Del Mar, at Ola Vista, H.H. Cotton’s is a full service restaurant with a modern bar, and several flat screen televisions throughout. We strive to offer a variety of quality menu items in a comfortable, family-friendly atmosphere.”
Featured image credit: Maureen Aitken Facebook
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