FORT MEADE, MD (Army News Service, Nov. 7, 2011) More than a dozen restaurant chains are offering free meals or specials to veterans and service members over the Veterans Day weekend and many other businesses are giving discounts in honor of military service.
Hundreds of inns across North America, along with bed and breakfast locations, are also offering free rooms the night before Veterans Day to those who have served in the military.
More than 500 innkeepers throughout the United States and Canada are participating in the “B&B for Vets” program by offering at least one room free to a veteran and guest.
Many of the bed and breakfast rooms have already been reserved, but as of Monday, vacancies still remained from Maine to Hawaii. For instance, rooms were available on Tybee Island, Ga., in Silverton, Colo., at Turtleback Farm in Washington state and at scores of other locations.
A full list of participating inns and B&B locations can be found at betterwaytostay.com. The free rooms are only for Thursday night, so that veterans and service members can wake up in the facility on Nov. 11.
Kathy Daaman, owner of the Waldo Emerson Inn, said her establishment in Kennebunk, Maine, is participating “just to help out and show our thanks to all the people who served.” She said although their free room is already reserved, discounts are being offered to veterans through Nov. 17.
Proof of veterans status may be requested by the inns, restaurants and other businesses offering specials, organizers point out. Such proof could range from a military identification card, to military discharge papers, to a universal access card issued by Veterans Affairs. Some businesses are even accepting a picture of the veteran in uniform.
In addition to freebies offered by businesses, the National Park Service is offering free admission Nov. 11-13 to service members and veterans at more than 100 locations across America.
The U.S. Army Band (Pershing’s Own) is offering free admission to its concert Friday night at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The concert features the legendary rock band Kansas. Free tickets can be obtained from Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities.
If a free meal before the concert is desired, restaurant chains advise calling ahead to specific locations, because they warn that not all franchises honor the specials offered by their parent organizations.
Applebees—All veterans and active-duty military eat free from a limited menu on Veterans Day.
Chili’s—Veterans and service members can dine for free from a special six-item menu on Veterans Day.
Golden Corral—Military Appreciation Monday includes a free dinner, Nov. 14, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for military retirees, veterans, and current service members.
Famous Dave’s—Offers for free or discounted meals on Veterans Day vary by location.
Hooters—All veterans and service members get 10 free wings with the purchase of a drink.
Krispy Kreme—A free donut is available for all service members, retirees and veterans.
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants—This Sunday, participating McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants are offering a complimentary entree to vets from a special menu on a space-available basis. Online reservations are highly recommended.
Outback Steakhouse—Nov. 7-15, Outback will offer veterans and military a free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage
Subway Restaurants—Free six-inch sub or flatbread available to military vets on Veterans Day.
Texas Roadhouse—Free meals available to veterans from opening until 4 p.m. on Veterans Day.
T.G.I. Friday’s—Veterans and service members can buy one meal and get another free, Nov. 11-13.
UNO Chicago Grill—Nov. 7-15, UNO is offering a 19.43 percent discount on food and non-alcoholic beverage beverages to vets and military. The chain explains that 1943 was the year UNO invented the deep dish pizza.
Abuelo’s Mexican Food—Offers vary by region.
Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurants—Special offers for vets on Veterans Day.
Amazon.com—A free downloadable MP3 album includes 12 songs performed by military bands and ensembles from now through Veterans Day.
The Dollar General—Veterans, service members and their immediate families can receive a 10-percent discount with a Veterans Day coupon.
Home Depot—Offers a 10 percent discount to all veterans on Veterans Day. Home Depot offers a 10 percent discount year-round to active duty military and retirees.
Lowe’s—All veterans receive the 10 percent discount for purchases of up to $5,000. A 10 percent discount is available year-round to active-duty military and retirees.
Sam’s Club—Nov. 9-11, Sam’s Club will give away collapsible Hugo Canes on Veterans Day to military veterans who need them.
Seven-Eleven—On Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., veterans can get a free small Slurpee.
Cabela’s Outdoor Store—Employee discounts are being offered to all veterans, active-duty military and reserve-component troops, along with law-enforcement, fire and emergency-management personnel Nov.11-12. Discounts vary from 5 percent to 50 percent, depending on item.
Build-a-Bear Workshop—Members of the armed services, including the Coast Guard and ROTC, receive a 20 percent discount Nov. 11-15 on any one transaction at the workshop.
Fashion Bug—Offering 20 percent off all plus-size and misses clothing purchases with a copy of military ID or spouse’s military ID.
Sports Clips Haircuts—Offering free haircuts to active-military and veterans on Nov. 11.