Merry Christmas to our veterans! We salute you all year ’round!

Food City is a relatively small grocery store chain that isn’t particularly well-known outside the region it serves. You might imagine that their television commercials would be low-budget by necessity. Just imagine the owner staring at the camera, looking either crazy or awkward while yelling frantically about the store’s great prices. The Food City commercial we’ve posted below is nothing like that. It has first-rate production values and, while the sponsor is regional, the advertisement speaks to the entire country.

At the beginning of the commercial, an elderly veteran is in his room, reminiscing about the past. He puts on his old uniform and heads downstairs join a family picnic that’s getting underway in the yard. Just as he’s stepping out the door, a taxi pulls up and a young man in a present-day Army uniform gets out and walks toward the house. The two of them stop and stand at attention. If this was a comedic commercial, the old veteran would bark something unprintable followed by “Drop and give me twenty!” But that’s not what’s going on here. Instead, they exchange salutes and then a hug. Only when the ad ends do we see it’s coming from Food City, which announces that it’s “Celebrating freedom and those who provide it.”

The commercial doesn’t beat you over the head with patriotism: there’s no sign of bombastic music, fighter jets screaming overhead, menacing submarines, or artillery fire. Instead, the tender music and human scale get its message across in a very powerful way.

While this is a Fourth of July ad, its basic message about the importance of family and those who serve in the military applies year-round. That includes Christmas, when there’s often an empty seat at the table for families with someone in uniform.

How did you like Food City’s patriotic commercial? We’d love to hear from you in the comments at Facebook. Don’t forget to like and share!