Once again, Veterans’ Day is upon us. (And in a fairly rare event, we’re actually celebrating it on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.) I know that for many of us, all this means is that we get a day off, or more likely, a day where our banks and government offices are closed, but otherwise not much is different. To all my fellow non-veterans, I hope that you take at least a short period of time this to thanks our vets for their service, in one way or another; they’ve given so much, at least we give those veterans a little. (I’ve suggested some methods before.)
This blog entry is going to be aimed at those vets, though. As a way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who served, there are lots of companies that provide free (or discounted) services and goods to members of the military, both past and present. If you’ve ever donned a uniform in service to your country, you can go this entire day without spending a dime while enjoying everything from great meals to a visit to a national park. That’s why, to help you with the rest of your Veterans’ Day, I’ve listed
5 Ways for Military Members To Enjoy Veterans’ Day
1. Snag a Free Meal – One of the most popular ways to honor vets is to give them some free grub. There are numerous restaurants that offer free meals to military service members, so if you are a veteran (or an active service member on leave), be sure to check out nearby restaurants to see if there’s anything they are offering any good grub. Just to give you an idea of what is available (and possibly help you plan your dinner), here are a few examples:
- Bob Evans is offering free all-you-can-eat buttermilk pancakes for those with an valid military ID.
- Ditto for Denny’s, although they limit you to 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., so you’ll need to hurry to get your free meal.
- Applebee’s provides a special menu with free entrees all day today.
- Chili’s does the same, giving vets and active military a special menu with free entrees all day today.
- Golden Corral is also on the list of places offering veterans a free meal to celebrate the day.
- Hooters (yes, that Hooters) is offering a free meal (up to $10.99 in value); it’s probably not the best place to take any female veterans, though.
These are far from the only restaurants offering free meals (there are dozens); I’d share more, but there are other Veterans’ Day benefits to cover (plus, other bloggers have already beaten me to the punch).
2. Get Some Free Entertainment – Once you’re full, it’s time to find a way to keep yourself busy. There are plenty of options out there. The Detroit Zoo is offering free admission to military members today (and gives a discount to active military members every day). The National Park Service is offering free admission to all veterans all day. And of course, there are plenty of Veterans’ Day parades going on throughout the country. (As well as wreath-laying and memorial dedication events.)
3. Get Free Financial Advice – Alright, this probably isn’t really, ‘enjoy’, but what personal finance blog could could go without mentioning that vets can get financial advice for free today? Kiplinger’s, Wells Fargo, and Social Security Solutions have joined together to offer free financial advising services to veterans until midnight (Hawaiian time) today, a service that would normally cost up to $49.95. If you don’t have your financial plans fully set up (or you do, but want to double check your plan), now is the ideal time if you happen to be a veteran. (While we’re on the subject, you can check out your benefits at the Veteran Benefits Administration, a sub-department of the Veterans’ Administration, if you’re feeling exceptionally financially inclined.)
4. Check Out Other Free (and Discounted) Stuff – This is hardly the entirety of what you can get today. You can snag a free coffee, courtesy of Starbucks (or if you head to Krispy Kreme instead, you can get a coffee and donut). If you’re in the Washington D.C. area, you can get a free massage from Massage Envy. Should you feel in a shopping mood, you can visit Bed, Bath, and Beyond and get a 20% discount on your entire purchase. If all this leaves you worn out (and far from home, if you head to D.C. for a massage), you can snag a 15% discount on a room at Red Roof Inn for the entire month of November (not too shabby at all).
5. Thank Another Veteran – I realize that if anything, you should be on the receiving end of the ‘Thank You’ and shouldn’t have to worry about thanking others, but it certainly would be a good thing if you share some thanks with your fellow veterans. If anything, a thank you from someone else who served will be even more meaningful. Because you know what they went through more than those of us who never served, they will appreciate your thanks and concern all the more because of it. This isn’t to say that us non-veterans shouldn’t thank former service personal; we should be especially thankful that we are able to live such a good life because of your service. This is just a reminder that even veterans can show thanks to other vets.