Although its roots go back to Armistice Day in 1919, Veterans Day has been an official American holiday since 1938. It’s the one day of the year set aside to recognize the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces.
This year, the Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis is welcoming veterans, active-duty service members, their families, and anybody who would like to extend their gratitude to our service members with a memorial service starting at 11 a.m. on the north steps of the Indiana War Memorial.
A parade, featuring more than 80 units, will immediately follow, beginning at the intersection of Michigan St. and Pennsylvania St. and heading south to New York St., west to Meridian St. and ending at North St. — so come one, come all, to celebrate both our patriots and the freedoms they have (and still do) so valiantly protect.
But that’s not all! Many of our local and adopted restaurants, bars, and other businesses are offering freebies and discounts for military members. Here’s where to find some of the best:
Free Food and Drink
Applebee’s: Active-duty military and veterans alike can get a free meal (limited selection applies) when dining in on Nov. 11 — plus a $5 discount card for their next meal within three weeks.
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse: Current and former military are invited to select a free meal from a pretty extensive list on Nov. 11 (dine-in only).
Bob Evans: Active military members and veterans can both enjoy a free meal from a select menu on Nov. 11.
Chili’s: Proof of your military service is all it takes to get a free dine-in meal from a select menu this Veterans Day at Chili’s.
Denny’s: Denny’s is offering a free “Build Your Own Grand Slam” for all military personnel, active or inactive at participating locations from 5 a.m. to noon on Veterans Day, dine-in only.
Dunkin’ Donuts: The folks at Dunkin’ would like to offer all active-duty service members and veterans a free donut on Nov. 11 — whatever one you’d like, no purchase necessary.
Golden Corral: From 5 p.m. to close on Veterans Day, active and former military personnel (including those in the National Guard or Reserves) are offered a “thank you” meal, dine-in only.
Hooters: Your military ID or proof of service and the purchase of a drink entitles you to a free entrée from their special Veterans Day menu at all participating locations.
IHOP: Come in on Veterans Day to get IHOP’s famous Red, White & Blueberry Pancakes at all participating locations (one per guest).
Red Lobster: Reservists, active-duty military, and veterans are all invited to enjoy an appetizer or dessert — on the house — at all participating locations on Nov. 11 with proof of service.
Starbucks: Veterans, other military members, and military spouses alike are being offered a free 12-oz. hot coffee to help them get their day started or as a pick-up in the afternoon.
Texas Roadhouse: Want to get a free meal but beat the crowd? Texas Roadhouse will be giving free dinner vouchers out on Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to veterans and active military members, redeemable through May 30, 2022.
Wendy’s: Start Veterans Day off right with a free breakfast combo at all participating locations from 6:30 a.m. when they open until 10:30 a.m.
Free Entertainment and Everything Else
Arbor Trace Golf Club: Located in Marion, IN, active and retired military can take advantage of free greens fees and discounted course and cart fees from Nov. 8 through Nov. 13.
Dollar General: The national chain is offering veterans, active-duty military members and their families a discount of 20% both in-store and online for all purchases from Nov. 11 through Nov. 14.
Great Clips: Want a free haircut? If you’re a veteran or active military member, Great Clips will provide one on Nov. 11. (If you don’t have time to wait, you can pick up a card for a free cut later.)
Indianapolis Zoo: Indy always has something special going on, and the zoo is offering free admission for all current and former military members on Veterans Day. Family members who come along will receive a $2 discount on their tickets.
OfficeMax and Office Depot: Whether you’re operating your own business now or just want to buy some gifts, veterans, retirees, reservists and active-duty military members (and their dependents) can get 25% off qualifying merchandise (including sale items) from Nov. 11 to Nov. 13.
Potawatomi Zoo: Located in South Bend, IN, admission to this zoo is free for veterans on Nov. 11, which means you can take it in even after the holiday is over.
Sky Zone: The Indianapolis location is inviting all military members and their families to enjoy some jump time (and SkySocks) — entirely on the house — on Nov. 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. only.
Sleep Number: Sleep easy with this deal because from Nov. 2 through Nov. 22, all military members and veterans can get 20% of smart beds, adjustable bases and bedding.
Staples: This national chain has always proudly supported the military, and all active-duty personnel, retired military, disabled members of the armed forces, reservists and veterans are invited to take 25% off their merchandise from Nov. 7 through Nov. 13.
Target: This is another great opportunity to pick up items that you’ve been waiting to buy. Target is giving both active-duty military members and veterans a 10% discount both in their store and online now through Nov. 13.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts: Planning on doing some traveling? Veterans, active-duty military and retired members of the service and their families can save 15% on stays that are booked by Dec. 12 and completed by Dec. 13.
What Do You Need to Do to Qualify for a Free Meal or Discount?
The easiest way to take advantage of all these awesome freebies and deals is to make sure that you have your military ID card on hand. If you’re currently retired from the service and you receive health benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the photo ID you use at the VA should also work. (Your DD214 may suffice, but you can’t count on it, since it doesn’t have a photo.)
Once again, the folks here at Talk to Tucker sincerely thank you, one and all, for your service and your sacrifices.