Everything You Need to Know About Veterans Day (PLUS, TONS OF FREEBIES)
What is Veteran’s Day?
Veteran’s Day is a Federal Holiday observed annually on November 11. This year this falls on a Sunday, so it will be observed on Monday, November 12th. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day is a day that commemorates the lives of living soldiers rather than the men and women that have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Do you Know a Veteran?
Chances are you know someone who has served in the military. If this person has served at some point in the military, they are most likely considered a veteran. A veteran could be serving on active duty, reserve, national guard, or is now retired or has been honorably discharged. This vet could be a co-worker, friend, family member, teacher, or neighbor. Veteran’s Day is a national holiday that celebrates their service. What better way to celebrate military service with freebies, sales, and discounts for those heroes and their families?
Show Me the Freebies!
Since Veteran’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, each location may offer a different day in which they have the freebie or discount. It will save you time and effort if you make a simple phone call to check if they are participating. These freebies are for veterans or anyone actively serving in the military or in some cases their dependents.
Let’s Get Started With the Freebies:
Applebee’s – Free Meal: Choose from 8 options (November 11th)
BJ’s Brewhouse – Free Entrée under $12.95 (November 11th)
Cracker Barrel – Free Slice of Cake or Coffee Beverage (November 11th)
Chuck E. Cheese – Free Pizza (November 11th)
Denny’s – Free Breakfast between 5am -12pm (November 12th)
Dunkin’ Donuts – Free Donut (November 11th)
Famous Dave’s – Free Meal (November 11th)
Golden Corral – Free Meal (November 11th)
Hy-Vee – Free Breakfast between 6-11 am (November 11th)
IHOP – Free Pancake (November 11th)
Little Caesars – Free Pizza (November 11th)
Olive Garden – Free Meal (November 11th)
Red Lobster – Free Appetizer or Dessert (November 11-12th)
Red Robin – Free Burger (November 11th)
RibCrib – Free Meal (November 11th)
Ruby Tuesday – Free Appetizer (November 11th)
Sizzler – Free Lunch (November 11th)
Texas Roadhouse – Free Lunch (November 11th)
Most restaurants providing a free meal will not include beverages or gratuity. Meals may also be from a special menu and may be dine-in only.
Bring Adequate ID
Most businesses will require some form of ID to get a discount. This ID serves as a record of service. This could include a Department of Defense (DOD) Military ID Card, VA Health Care Card (VHIC), Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), or a Driver’s License with Veteran’s Designation (check your state’s licensing department). The DD-214 form (military discharge papers) may work as proof of service, however it is not recommended to use this as there is sensitive information on these documents. Need help obtaining a DD-214? Click here. Need more information on what you qualify for? Check here or here.
If you are wearing a uniform, you may not need to show ID, but be prepared just in case!
Create a plan if you want to take advantage of all the discounts and freebies. Between free meals, haircuts, car washes, and shopping, there is a little bit of everything for a vet. Therefore, it’s time to put your multi-tasking to work! Do keep in mind that some retails may not participate. Calling ahead ensures that the establishment is providing said promotion and it can’t hurt to ask for an insider tip on what time is best to visit. Consider mapping out your shopping and dining path. Fill up your tank beforehand and combine what other errands you can run while you’re waiting.
Bring Extra Patience
Depending on how big or little a military presence is in your area, note that you may have longer wait times for service. Some restaurants may post specific times freebies will be, so pay close attention to these windows. It is important to note that many restaurants will only offer a dine-in option. However, some have received a free meal to-go to accommodate the masses!
What About Experiences?
If you want to make the most of the weekend, grab the family and get outside! Click below to get more details and how to take advantage.
Free Admission to National Parks (November 11th)
Free Admission to Sea World – Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego
Free Admission to Busch Gardens – Tampa, Williamsburg
Free Admission to Sesame Place – Langhorne
Free Admission to Aquatica – Orlando
Free Admission to Discovery Cove – Florida
Not a Veteran?
There are many retailers that are pushing out deals for Veteran’s Day. Most big-box stores are offering great discounts and sales! Macy’s, Kohl’s, JC Penny, Sears, Kmart, as well as others have great weekend in-store and online sales with Veteran’s Day coupon codes. Check your local circulars for grocery store deals as well! Be sure to be checking our deals page all weekend because we will be posting all the deals there!
If you are not a veteran and you are out dining during this weekend, please take into consideration that veteran’s will be visiting these restaurants to get meals. Be courteous and thank them for their service!
Honor a Vet
Check your local newspaper for events happening in your area. You could go to a flag raising or retirement ceremony, a wreath laying event, attend a school event, and some cities may even have a parade. Support a veteran-owned business! Look here to find a local veteran-owned business.
Involve the Kids
Put some stationary to work and get the kids working on their penmanship skills by hand-writing a letter to a veteran. Do you homeschool or want the kids to learn more about Veteran’s Day? Click here to discover new activities for grades K-5. For a teacher’s guide from the Department of Veteran Affairs, click here.
Remember Our Veteran’s
Each veteran has their own story. Read and share their stories by looking at the Veterans History Project. If you have never been to the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C., check it out! If you meet a veteran, ask them questions and don’t forget to say thank you!
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