Every year, America sets aside a special day to honor the service of its military members. The Nov. 11 Veterans Day tradition has been in place since Armistice Day was declared in 1919, and it’s been a national holiday since 1938. Despite all of the disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, 2020 will be no different.
Naturally, however, public health concerns have forced people to make some adjustments to the way they celebrate. For example, the Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis has cautiously canceled their annual breakfast and parade, and many other communities will likely do the same. Some will turn to virtual services or hold private awards, instead.
Just the same, many area restaurants and businesses will still do their part to honor our nation’s military members through deals, discounts and free meals. Here’s where to find some of the most popular throughout Indiana:
Free Food and Drinks
• Applebee’s: Veterans and active-duty military members can select a free meal from a limited menu with proof of service.
• Bandana’s Bar-B-Q: Veterans and active duty military can claim a free “Budget Buster” meal all day Wednesday.
• Bar Louie: Both active and retired military members are invited to enjoy a free craft burger or flatbread of their choice, dine-in only.
• BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse: Your military ID or proof of service will get you a complimentary entree up to $14.95 and a free Dr. Pepper here.
• Bob Evans: Veterans and active duty military personnel alike are invited to choose a free meal from a select menu featuring breakfast, lunch and dinner items.
• Chili’s: Chili’s invites veterans and active military members to have a meal on them, chosen from a select menu. Dine-in only.
• Cracker Barrel: Military members and veterans alike are invited to claim a free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola cake when dining in a Cracker Barrel on Veterans Day.
• Denny’s: A military ID is all it takes to claim a free Grand Slam Breakfast from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m at participating Denny’s on Nov. 11.
• Dunkin’: All day long on Veterans Day 2020, military members are invited to claim a free donut, no purchase necessary.
• Famous Dave’s: Dine-in or to-go (including via online ordering), all military personnel can claim a Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich, plus a side dish, on Nov. 11 at participating locations.
• Houlihan’s: Houlihan’s offers a year-round military discount on meals, but active-duty members and veterans are entitled to a free meal from a limited menu on Veterans Day.
• Kolache Factory: Current and former military are welcome to a free dine-in breakfast from 6 a.m to 2 p.m. on Nov. 11 with ID or DD214.
• Little Caesars: From 11 a.m – 2 p.m, veterans and active-duty military are entitled to a free Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo with four slices of Detroit-style deep-dish pizza and a 20-oz. Pepsi. Proof of service required.
• Red Lobster: With a valid military ID, you can claim a free appetizer or dessert on Nov. 11, including their vanilla bean cheesecake.
• Shoney’s: Military members both current and retired are invited to a free, all-you-can-eat breakfast bar from opening until 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, dine-in required.
•Starbucks: Any time they care to stop by on Nov. 11, veterans, military members and military spouses can claim a free tall hot coffee.
Retail and Services
• Academy Sports: From Oct. 25 – Nov. 11, military and first responders can take 10% of their purchases. Check online for more details and limitations.
• Amazon: Vets, active-duty troops and reserve members can all get one year of Amazon Prime for $79 (a $40 discount). If you already have Prime, you can renew it at the reduced price.
• Bed Bath & Beyond: All military veterans, members and spouses can take 25% of their entire in-store shopping order on Veterans Day. Check stores for details.
• Foster Golf Course: Located in Fort Wayne, veterans and active military members are invited to play a free game on Veterans Day.
• Maxwell House: From Nov. 9-11, active-duty members and veterans can download a coupon for a free can of coffee to be redeemed at a participating retailer by Nov. 16.
• Outdoor Research: From Nov. 4-12, veterans can claim a one-time, 30% discount on their order. Verification through ID.me is required before checkout to obtain the discount.
• Rack Room Shoes: Rack Room gives a 10% military discount all year, but that doubles to 20% on Veterans Day.
• Sport Clips: Active duty military members or vets who stop by participating locations can claim a free haircut on Nov. 11
• Target: From Nov. 1-11, veterans and activity duty military alike merely need to verify their eligibility by registering at www.target.com/circle/military to redeem a 10% discount on any purchase in-store or online.
Please keep in mind that offers for deals are only good at participating locations, so check before you head out, and make sure that you carry proof of your service with you — and wear a mask. You may also want to check militarybenefits.info for updates because additional offers and deals are constantly being announced.
If you’re a veteran, thank you once again for your sacrifice and your service. We hope that you have a wonderful Veterans Day!