Veterans Day Specials

Merchants offer Veterans Day Specials to honor and support our troops with various military discounts, including free meals. We're listing here the ones we know about, and giving you an opportunity to add others you may be aware of.

Service members and military families represent only a very small percentage of the population for this country. Those patriots, who are willing to sacrifice all their tomorrows if necessary, so that the rest of us can enjoy ours in freedom, inspire the phrase:

"Never have so few
sacrificed so much
for so many."

or from the opposite perspective:

"Never have so many
owed so much
to so few."

During most of its history, fewer than one percent of the American population served in the military. There were temporary surges in that percentage during times of war, ranging from 3 percent during the Civil War to roughly 12 percent during World War II.

Active-duty forces, which once again represent less than 1 percent of the population, are augmented by the reserves, the National Guard, the Coast Guard, civilian DoD employees, and employees of defense contractors, who increasingly perform tasks that were traditionally performed by uniformed military personnel.

It is appropriate that the other 99 percent of the population express its gratitude to our military families, whose sacrifices make it possible for us to pursue our own individual versions of The American Dream. Many merchants offer military discounts throughout the year, and that recognition is most appreciated by our military families.

This year, additional merchants, including a number of restaurants, are offering a variety of Veterans Day specials, to both active duty members and veterans, including free meals and free photo services. We extend our thanks to all of them for recognizing the efforts and contributions of our military.

Here are the Veterans Day Specials we are aware of. If you know of others, please let us know using the form at the bottom of the page.


  • McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants - Sunday, November 8, military veterans (including active duty) with proper identification will receive a free entree at lunch or dinner, at participating locations in the chain of 87 restaurants. This is an 11-year tradition at McCormick & Schmicks, who explained that the event is scheduled for a weekend day so that service members can bring their families. Details.
  • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts offers veterans and active duty military a free doughnut of their choice on Wednesday at any location in the U.S.
  • Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar invites veterans and active duty members to come in on Wednesday, Veterans Day, for a free entree selected from among six menu favorites at any of its 1,994 locations. A military ID, copy of your DD-214, or a photo of yourself in uniform will be sufficient ID to qualify for the free offer. Details.
  • Outback Steakhouse restaurants invite veterans to join them on Wednesday, Veterans Day for a free Bloomin' Onion appetizer and a beverage of choice, either a non-alcoholic drink or one draft Anheuser-Busch beer.
  • Uno Chicago Grill offers veterans a free entree or pizza with the purchase of another entree or pizza on Wednesday at its 200 locations. Wearing a uniform or showing a photo of yourself in uniform is sufficient ID to qualify for the free offer. On July 4 this year, Uno send 28,000 deep dish pizzas to troops in Afghanistan for the world's largest pizza party.
  • Domino's Pizza invited local VFW Halls an opportunity to win a catered pizza party on Wednesday. Veterans were invited to send an e-mail explaining why they deserved a catered party, with the top five VFW Halls with the most compelling stories winning a pizza party valued at $100.
  • Golden Corral is hosting its Military Appreciation Day on Monday, November 16, in order to avoid conflict with other Veterans Day events. Anyone who has served in the U.S. military, National Guard or Reserves is invited to enjoy a free buffet dinner between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. at all nationwide locations. Details.
  • Our thanks to Lisa Jennings of Nation's Restaurant News for this information.


Many companies, restaurants, and recreational sites offer military discounts that are not well advertised. When making purchases, it is always a good idea to ask if a military discount is available.

  • Free Photo Scanning:

    According to Business Wire,, a world leader in high-speed photo transfer, is offering free photo scanning through December 5, 2009. Calling their program "Operation Photo Scan," will scan and digitally archive onto a DVD up to 1,000 4"x6" photos for military families, waiving the normal charge of $64. The only cost to military families will be the standard $19.95 shipping and handling charge. Most orders are returned the same day. This would make a terrific Christmas gift, giving you the opportunity to transfer all those old non-digital photos taken throughout your military career of all your old duty stations and travels onto a DVD for permanent digital archiving on your computer.

    Not only is this a great opportunity to consolidate all your photos in one place, it also provides a great backup in the event the originals are lost or destroyed. You can download the photos onto your computer, or make a copy of the DVD, and store the original in a safe location, such as a safe deposit box, so that your precious memories are safe in the event of a disaster such as a fire or flood.

    To receive up to 1,000 free 4"x6" photos scanned to DVD, click on this link for complete instructions. The instructions are very specific, so make sure you follow them. For example, photos must be removed from albums or other mounting with all adhesive residue removed, then banded together with rubber bands, etc.

    One caution: You will have to send your original photos in order to take advantage of this service, so be sure to package them securely. You might also want to consider sending them via FedEx or other service requiring signature, or sending them via Registered Mail, which requires the package to be signed for in each location it passes through, which will provide a trail for tracing in the unlikely event the photos are lost in the mail.

Local Area Veterans Day Specials:

  • Colonial Williamsburg will honor America's Veterans with a procession down Duke of Gloucester Street, beginning at the Capitol at 4:30 p.m. The parade will culminate in a public ceremony, with militia and cannon crew firing volleys in recognition of those who serve. Hear Colonial Williamsburg's Fifes and Drums, and speakers from past and present. Active duty military, guard and reservists, retirees, veterans and their dependents enjoy free admission passes Friday through Wednesday, November 6 - 11.

  • Metro Atlanta Area
    • The Georgia Aquarium is offering $20 tickets to active, retired and reserved military personnel and their families Nov. 7 through Nov. 15, in addition to a 10% gift shop discount. Military ID required.
    • The World of Coca-Cola is free for military personnel Nov. 7-14, and 50 percent off for up to four family members or friends.
    • Imagine It! Children's Museum is free for active and retired military personnel from Nov. 7-15, and tickets are discounted to $9.50 for an additional friend or family member.
    • The CNN Studio Tour will offer free admission to active duty service members, reserves, national guard and retired veterans Nov. 7-15. Their guests will receive admission for $10 each.
    • The National Museum of Patriotism is also free to all active and retired military personnel, while all their guests will get 50 percent off admission.

  • Southern California area:
    • Knott's Berry Farm pays tribute to past and present U.S. armed forces personnel during Veterans Month with park admission at no charge for them and a guest November 1-26, 2009, only. Up to six additional tickets can be purchased for only $15 each. Military ID or DD214 required for discount. Details.

    • San Diego area:
      • Herocare San Diego and Costco have partnered to offer a special shopping event in recognition of those who serve as heroes within the community. The event is being held Saturday, November 7, from 1800 - 2000b at Costco store locations in Santee, San Marcos, Vista, Poway, Temecula, Carmel Mountain, Carlsbad, Rancho Del Ray, La Mesa, Chula Vista, Lake Elsinore, and SESD, California. The event is to recognize those who work, at any level, active or retired in the following industries: Military Schools, Colleges, Medical, Fire, Police, CHP, Sheriff, State, City, County or non-profit agencies. Employees and their families are invited to attend for pictures with Santa Claus, refreshments, food samplings and opportunity drawings. Some locations will feature entertainment from local schools, police cars and fire trucks.
      • Sea World: Military Members can receive up to 4 free tickets for themselves and their dependents (additional tickets are discounted) each year. Available year-round.
      • San Diego Zoo/Wild Animal Park are free to active duty military year-round.
      • USS Midway Tour is free with your military ID year-round. This is a great piece of World War II history.
      • Deep Sea Fishing is available in San Diego and Oceanside. Great rates are available for military members year-round - sometimes as much as half off.

  • Disney World offers a complimentary 5-day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute" ticket, which includes admission to all Disney World theme parks, including the water parks and DisneyQuest. Eligible military members can purchase discounted Disney tickets for their friends and family. Adult or child 5-day "Disney's Armed Forces Salute Companion" ticket for up to 5 people for $99 per ticket (add $25 for access to all parks). A limited number of discounted Disney Resort hotel tickets are available. Offer Expires December 23, 2009.
  • Lowe's Home Improvement will offer a 10% discount to all active, reserve, honorably discharged and retired military personnel and their immediate family members on in-store U.S. purchases made between November 6 and November 11 in honor of the Veterans Day holiday. To qualify you must present a valid military ID or other proof of service. Some exclusions apply: sales via, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards. In addition to offering military discounts at specific times during the year, Lowe's offers extended benefits for its employees serving in the military and offers employment opportunities to military personnel after their military service has ended.
  • The Home Depot (participating stores) offers all active duty personnel, reservists, retired military veterans, and their families a 10% discount off their purchases up to a maximum of $50 or $200, depending on the time of year.

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