I met a man named Tony P. from Bayonne who had a complaint I think all should hear.

Male Veteran soldier, back to camera, saluting United States of America flag.

Here's what he had to say:

"I have a complaint. I am a retired veteran and recently went to visit Ocean Grove Beach last weekend. I was shocked to find out that they do not allow retired veterans free beach access. They do, however, allow active veterans free beach access which I have no problem with. But I served for over 20 years and should be given the same preferences."

How does someone with 20+ years of service under their belt not receive the same perks as someone currently serving?

Tony has a very valid point.

Real Quick: Here's the difference between active military, non-active military and retired veterans:

Eugene Berman, Getty Stock / ThinkStock
Eugene Berman, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

Active Military: They are currently serving our country as we speak.

Non-Active Military: They are not currently enlisted but could be called back to serve if their country needs them as long as they are 55 years old and younger. They have served for 20 years or less.

Retired Veteran: They have served our country for at least 20 years and can no longer be called back to the military.

Personally, I don't think this break down really matters when we are talking about beach access.

If they have served or are currently serving our country, they should be given free beach access without any hassle. This is a very simple way to start to say thank you for all they have sacrificed.

Running the flag in Long Beach Township 18 miles on LBI
Running the flag in Long Beach Township 18 miles on LBI (Long Beach Township Beach Patrol)

First of all -- would we even be able to enjoy our Jersey Shore beaches if veterans didn't fight for our freedom?

May I also add that our military members and veterans have had to see, hear and experience horrific things that no person should ever have to be exposed to.

They don't return as the same people who were deployed which means they basically sacrifice themselves for the good of the majority.

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People have come back with debilitating injuries and suffer from PTSD -- both of which can make it extremely difficult to return to civilian life.

Borough of Belmar
Borough of Belmar

Don't underestimate what our military and veterans go through to keep you safe.

The LEAST we can do is give them free beach access when they return home. This should only be the start when it comes to us thanking them for their service.

Tony, I am so sorry you had this experience. Your time spent serving your country matters and does not go unnoticed. But I do thank you for being brave enough to come forward on this.

So Thank You!

Our military members and veterans deserve love and some of the biggest thank you's you've ever given.

And let's just think about this....where would we be without them?

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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