If you’re heading north on Hwy 128 the speed limit slows to 25mph as you enter onto the main street into Glenwood City. It’s a good thing too, or you might miss the small Fiddler’s Green Pub sign on your left, tucked back in the corner of town. Drawn in by the rumors of delicious meals, friendly smiles and only strangers for mere minutes, veterans and patrons alike lined the bar and enjoyed a complimentary meal and beverage this past Veterans Day. In 1918, Nov. 11 signaled the end of WWI claiming the day as Veterans Day nationwide.

“The cavalry scouts have to memorize the Fiddler’s Green poem before they finish training,” stated owner Rich Salsbury. “That’s why I named it Fiddler’s Green; it was important to me to incorporate my military past here.”

Fiddler’s Green:

Halfway down the trail to hell, in a shady meadow green.

Are the souls of many departed troops

camped near a good old-time canteen.

And this eternal resting place is known as Fiddler’s Green.

Though others must go down the trail to seek a warmer scene,

No troop ever goes to hell, ere he’s emptied his canteen.

And so returns to drink again, with friends at Fiddler’s Green.

Salsbury, a U.S. Air Force veteran bought the pub in December 2020. The exterior entrance, “The Canteen” hosts a large deck, picnic table, a large screen TV as well as a heated smoking room. The interior atmosphere proudly hangs the flags of all divisions of the armed forces. Salsbury’s son, Chris, runs the kitchen at the pub. And although he had no desire to join the military like his father, he was volunteering and learning at a French restaurant in the Twin Cities when he was just 15 years old. He learned to manage kitchens and discovered his love of creative foods at an early age. Salsbury also has experience in bar ownership and when the opportunity came up to settle and start a new endeavor in Glenwood City, the pair didn’t hesitate. The bone-in wings on Tuesday are a town favorite, and the authentic Mexican tacos complete with homemade rice and beans on Wednesday, are another well-liked item.

Coming from a large military family, Salsbury was stationed in Germany, then deployed to Bosnia as a Security Specialist within the mobile tactical unit. “The friendships I made during my time serving,” he states, “are still there today thanks to social media. There’s a camaraderie that exists within your platoons that just isn’t there in the civilian world. It’s hard to explain, but in the military, you depend on each other for your survival. They have your back, they become your family. The military gives you a basis and a grounding you can carry on through your life. There’s a different set of rules and ways you are trained to follow in the military which make the transition back into civilian life difficult to adjust to,” he continues. “It took me 25 years to find that camaraderie again through the Brothers by Choice motorcycle club. We have Vietnam vets in our club and some members are still in active service,” he continued. “I was glad I found them.”

On Nov. 11, every train on the CPR system in the United States and Canada come to a complete stop and observe a minute of silence followed by one long whistle blast in memory of those who served in the military. “At Fiddler’s,” states Salsbury, “Veteran’s Day is a time to raise a glass and thank each other for our sacrifices and I wanted to do something special too.”

“This holiday celebrates all past, present and future veterans,” said pub patron Carey Casey. Casey, who served in the Navy for 15 years, remains a longtime member of the Wilson Legion Post 330. “I joined the Navy because I wanted to travel and my father was an Army man,” she states. “I was stationed in Whidbey Island, Washington, but I had deployments in Australia, Japan and the Philippines.” The Navy trained me on my love for mechanics and I worked on EA6B’s, 707’s, H3 helicopters to name a few,” she continues. Experiencing the Gulf War of ’91, she still believes, “The worse day in the military is still better than any good day I’ve had as a civilian.”

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