Veterans Day lets Americans put aside political differences to honor those who serve and sacrifice in our armed forces.
The holiday, which takes place on Nov. 11 (the anniversary of the day World War I officially ended), salutes those who have served, those who serve now, and also the casualties of war. Originally called Armistice Day, its name was changed when President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" [opens in PDF]. That document stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose."
That purpose has broadened from just remembering those who have sacrificed their lives for the United States to also include retired servicepeople, active military members, and the innocents killed by war. It remains a day filled with parades, memorials, and other services, but it has also become one where businesses offer special deals as a small thank you to veterans and active-duty military.
These are just a sampling of the national offers. There are many more on a local level. In most cases, valid identification is needed to claim the deal.
Have a free meal
DineEquity (NYSE: DIN), which owns both the IHOP and Applebees brands, has Veterans Day offers at both of its chains. The company will offer veterans and active-duty personnel a free meal at all Applebees locations chosen from a special menu. At IHOP, the company is offering three buttermilk pancakes with glazed strawberries, blueberry compote, and whipped topping for free at participating U.S. locations between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. In some locations, those being honored will also be able to get a combo of two eggs, hash browns, and a choice of two bacon strips or pork sausage links as part of what the chain is calling the Red, White & Blue Pancake promotion.
In addition to IHOP, Denny's will be offering active, inactive, and retired military personnel a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on Nov. 11, from 5 a.m. to noon. The meal includes four breakfast items including the chain's new buttermilk pancakes, eggs cooked to order, bacon strips, seasonal fruit, and hash browns.
Get some free wings or a burrito
Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD) will be giving a free small order of wings (10-12 traditional or boneless wings) and a side of fries to veterans or active-duty military personnel for the entire day. Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) will also be offering a deal for veterans by offering them a buy-one, get-one free deal on burritos. bowls, salads, or an order of tacos from 3 p.m. to close on Veterans Day.
There are tons of snacks to be had
Krispy Kreme will offer all active or retired military personnel a free doughnut and a small coffee. Cracker Barrel will not only offer veterans a free Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake dessert, it will also give its guests a chance to make purchases that support the USO. In addition, Boston Market is offering a free brownie or cookie with any purchase for all veterans, service members, and their families and Menchie's Frozen Yogurt will hand out free 6-ounce servings of its frozen treats.
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) is celebrating Veterans Day in two ways. First, service members, reservists, veterans, and military spouses are invited to enjoy a free tall brewed coffee on the holiday. The coffee company will also donate $5 for every Veterans Day Starbucks Card or electronic gift card purchased to help support programs that "direct veterans to use their skills, experience, and commitment to help create positive change in their communities."
Celebrate in style
It's not just fast-food and fast-casual eateries offering Veterans Day deals. A number of higher-end chains are also saluting veterans and active-military personnel with special deals, according to MilitaryBenefits.info.
These include Bar Louie, which is offering a free appetizer or entree, and BLT Steak, which is offering 50% off for parties of one or two and 25% off for parties of three or more at BLT Steak Atlanta, Charlotte, DC, NYC, and White Plains. In its Las Vegas location, the chain has a 25% discount regardless of party size.
In addition, two high-end Brazilian chains, Texas de Brazil and Fogo De Chao, will be offering veterans and their families huge savings on the holiday. The first will be offering qualified military or ex-military 50% off their bill (including one guest) while the latter is offering the serviceperson or veteran 50% off his or her meal plus 10% off for any guests.
Have a pizza
While the deals differ, California Pizza Kitchen, Little Caesar's, and Chuck E. Cheese are all offering veterans and active-duty soldiers free pizzas. Marco's Pizza will host free pizza parties for military veterans at local VFW posts, VA hospitals, and American Legions nationwide, according to MilitaryBenefits.info.