Have you seen the new Speedway commercial portraying an unexpected homecoming of a veteran or servicemen? What a tear-jerker and a stand up move on Speedway’s part!  Sure, it’d be easy to write it off as just another marketing ploy, but the truth is they’ve figured out an important truth many of us haven’t or easily forget.

Every opportunity we have to let another person know they are seen, and they are heard — it matters.  And when we make our own opportunities to show others how much we appreciate them and their sacrifices, well that’s even better.  Especially when we’re talking about those who leave their families and risk their lives to protect us and our freedoms.

This year Veteran’s Day is officially November 11th, 2014.  Here are a few ways to give back to those who give so much to us – this week, and every week.


  • Offer encouragement and practical help to the families of veterans and active duty military members!  By nature, those who have served in the armed forces tend to be selfless individuals and they see supporting their families as supporting themselves. Offer no strings attached babysitting, errand running, lawn mowing, or just a listening ear.  It all matters.
  • Look up times and places for local community programming in your town this Veteran’s Day.  You will likely find multiple opportunities to show up to be with veterans on their special day.  Nothing says, “I care” like your physical presence.  The smiles and the stories we have witnessed at public observances of Veteran’s Day have been irreplaceable, not to mention great learning experiences for our kids.
  • Support your local VA center.  Each has year round volunteer and donation opportunities.
  • Teach your children to thank veterans as well as men and women in uniform. Speaking as the wife and daughter of three veterans, this simple kindness goes a long way in expressing respect and appreciation.
  • Take kids to the library to check out books to cast a positive vision for a lifelong view of Veterans Day.
  • Share a sweet treat!  Send left over Halloween candy to a veteran by or before November 15th.
  • Donate to a wounded warrior.  Financial donations can be made online here: Donate to Wounded Warriors or by check made payable and addressed to:  Operation Gratitude P.O. Box 260257 Encino, CA 91426-0257

In the spirit of doing what we can to show veterans how much we care, here is a list of places you can share with the veteran(s) in your life to show them that they’re remembered and appreciated.


ProFlowers – Discounted flowers especially for veterans!  Woo hoo!

Starbucks – This one is my favorite and I bet you can guess why!  Starbucks will be giving out free tall brewed coffees to veterans, active duty military, and their spouses on Veterans Day.

Panera – Veterans show military ID or wear uniform and receive a free pick-two meal.

Bob Evans – Veterans and active military personnel will receive free all–you-can-eat hotcakes at its restaurants. All these honored servicemen and women need do is show a valid military ID.

Applebee’s – On Tuesday, November 11th, from open to close, veterans and active duty military can choose from a free signature Thank You Meal menu.  Must present valid Veteran’s form of identification or be in uniform.

California Pizza Kitchen – On Tuesday, November 11, all veterans or active duty military personnel in uniform or with military ID will be able to select from a special Veterans Day menu including pizza, salads and pasta.

Carrabbas – All active and retired veterans receive a free appetizer at participating locations November 8th through November 11th, 2014.

Champps – Veterans and active-duty receive a free handcrafted cheeseburger on Veterans day at participating locations only. Must provide proof of service.  Participating locations only, check to confirm.

Chilis – Veterans and active-duty military receive a free meal from a special Veterans Day menu. Must show proof of military service.

Olive Garden is having a Veterans Day free meal for all active-duty military and military veterans who provide proof of service on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

Outback Steakhouse – All active, retired military and veterans get a Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage on Veterans Day. Must have valid identification. Plus, all military personnel get 15% off from November 12 thru December 31, 2014.

Red Lobster – Active duty military, reserve, and military veterans can stop by Red Lobster and get a free appetizer Monday, November 10 through Thursday, November 13, 2014.

Friendlys – Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military, with a valid military ID or honorable discharge card, to a free breakfast, lunch or dinner on Veteran’s Day, Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

BJ’s Restaurant Free Lunch or Pizza

All Active Duty Military and Veterans receive a complimentary Lunch Entree, or a one topping mini Deep Dish or individual Hand-Tossed Pizza at dinner. Simply present proof of service.

Golden Corral – From 5 PM to 9 PM on November 17th, all who have served in the United States military or is a current active duty service member, get a free Veterans Day buffet and beverage. All Golden Corral locations will be participating. No identification is required to get your free Veterans day meal.

Boston Market

Stop into any Boston Market on Veterans Day and show your military ID and receive a free whole chicken with the purchase of a family meal.

Buca di Beppo
Free individual pasta for veterans and active duty military on Veterans Day. Proof of service required.

IHOP – On Veteran’s Day, November 11, participating IHOP Restaurants around the nation will be honoring the brave men and women who have served, or are serving, in the United States Military by offering them free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Krispy Kreme – Offering a free doughnut and small coffee to all those served or currently are serving on Veterans Day. A free doughnut and small coffee will be given to anyone who identifies themselves as a veteran or active duty military personnel at participating locations.

Free Haircuts at Great Clips – Veterans and active/inactive/retired military members can stop into Great Clips on Tuesday, November 11 and get a free haircut or pickup a free haircut card to use before the end of the year. Anyone can stop in to get their haircut and receive a free haircut card that they can give to a veteran.

Free Haircuts at Sports Clips – Veterans and active duty U.S. service members can stop in on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 to get a free haircut at any participating Sports Clips.

Free Entrance Into National Parks – This freebie is in honor of Veterans Day but everyone can take part in it. Over 100 national parks will waive admission fees on November 11, 2014 in honor of Veterans Day.

Creation Museum – Veterans are free on Memorial Day (May 26), Independence Day (July 4), and Veterans Day (November 11).

Free Chuck E. Cheese’s Tokens – From November 9 through November 15, all veterans and active duty military can visit Chuck E. Cheese’s to get 20 free tokens. To get the free tokens, you must show military ID or other proof of service when visiting any of the 500+ participating locations.


Red Roof Inn 15% Discount – During the month of November, those with a military ID can get 15% off their stay at Red Roof Inn.

Southampton Inn Discounted Rooms – Veterans who stay at Southampton Inn between November 7 and 13 can get a special discounted room price of $100 a night (not including taxes). Military ID is required.

Sleep Number Mattress Discounts – With a valid military or veteran’s ID, individuals can get $400-$700 off selected Sleep Number mattress’ through November 16, 2014. This offer is not valid online.

JCPenney 20% Discount – JCPenney will give anyone with this coupon and a military ID or proof of service 20% off their purchases November 3-15, in-store only.

Family Dollar 15% Discount – Print out this coupon to get 15% off your entire purchase at Family Dollar on November 11. This is for active duty or retired military, National Guard, veterans, and their families.

Dollar General 11% Veterans Day Discount – Veterans, active military members, and their families will get 11% off their in-store or online purchase at Dollar General on Veterans Day.

Home Depot 10% Veterans Day Discount– Home Depot is branching their military discount out to include all veterans for Veterans Day. Veterans can save 10% off any purchase.

Lowe’s 10% Military Discount – Lowe’s has a 10% military discount for current, retired, and VA members. This also applies to immediate family.


Find this article syndicated on The Huffington Post here

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