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09 November 2011

Kraus: Veterans Day: A Day Worth Celebrating

Using the word “celebrate” in relation to Veterans Day has seemed a stretch to me. When we think of celebrating, we think of gathering in joy and in happiness of the occasion. We often think of potlucks and barbecues, and of crowds of family and friends. In many minds, the Veterans Day holiday is, instead, a time for reflection, for stoic honor, and for thanks.

But this year, as both a veteran myself, and as the father of a current serviceman, I believe that celebrating Veterans Day is exactly the right thing to do. This country’s veterans have steadfastly stood as the barrier between the rights and freedoms that have made this nation great and those that would trample those same freedoms underfoot. We can celebrate Veterans Day in a dozen small ways; participating in or watching a parade, visiting a veterans’ memorial, taking the time to shake the hand of a veteran, or even simply saying thank you to a person that took time out of their lives and away from their families to defend our daily lives.

I have said this before, and I’m certain I will again: please take a few moments out of this holiday to honor our veterans, our past servicemen and women. Their efforts have helped preserve the freedoms we enjoy, and we should not let them feel as if we might not appreciate that fact.

As well, think about making the time to recognize those brave men and women who continue to carry the mantle of our freedoms today. Around the world, these brave people still stand firm in their resolve to protect and defend our homes and our way of life.

To the members of the military of yesterday, today, and tomorrow: thank you for your sacrifices.

Busy Veterans Day in Lee’s Summit

On Friday, Nov. 11, Lee’s Summit VFW Post 5789 will conduct a brief memorial service at the Lee’s Summit cemetery at 8:00 a.m. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony.

After that, most of the participating members will go to the Hy-Vee store for breakfast. Hy-Vee East, 301 NE Rice Road in Lee's Summit (near Hwy. 291) is sponsoring a free breakfast for veterans. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the VFW will provide a FREE ham and bean dinner for all veterans at its building located at 329 SE Douglas Street. At 1:00 p.m., members of the Post will visit Richardson Elementary School for a “Vets in the Classroom” program.

2011 Free Veterans Day Meals and Other Discounts

Following is a list of restaurants and other businesses that offer a free meal or other discounts to veterans. I really appreciate the efforts of these businesses to honor our country’s service members, and I encourage you to take advantage of these offers if you are a veteran. However, note that this list is not specific to District 8. Therefore, please call ahead to make sure that the offer is good in this area.
  • Applebee’s – free meal, Friday, Nov. 11: Last year, Applebee’s served 1,024,000 million free meals to military veterans and active service members. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. There will be seven entrées to choose from. Military ID or proof of service required. Find locations at
  • Chili’s – free meal, Friday, Nov. 11: Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of six meals. This offer is available during business hours on Nov. 11, 2011 at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Visit their website to find locations.
  • Golden Corral – free meal, Monday, Nov. 14: The 10th Annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner will be held on Monday, Nov. 14, 2011, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in all Golden Corral restaurants nationwide. The free “thank you” dinner is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. For more information visit
    • Special thanks to Golden Corral: To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 2.5 million free meals and contributed over $4.3 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization.
  • Hooters – Free Meal, Friday, Nov. 11: Hooter’s is serving up a free meal to military veterans all day on Veterans Day. Offer good for all veterans and active duty military personnel. Choose one of the new specialty items on the Hooters’ menu. Offer valid at participating Hooters only; open to all active duty and military veterans with valid military ID or proof of military service. Drink purchase required. For more information, visit,
  • Krispy Kreme – free doughnut. Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees and veterans on Friday, Nov. 11. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – free lunch or dinner, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011: McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating their 13th annual Veterans Appreciation Event on Sunday, Nov.13. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s, as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. For more information, visit M&S Veterans Appreciation Event.
  • Outback Steakhouse – A week of Free Bloomin’ Onions and Cokes Monday, Nov. 7 – Friday, Nov. 11: Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a Coca-Cola product during the week leading up to Veteran’s Day. This offer is available to Military Personnel who have one of the following forms of identifications: U.S Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), DD form 214 Veterans Organization Card (i.e., American Legion and VFW), Photograph in Uniform, Wearing Uniform. For more information, visit,
    • The Outback understands commitment. For the past two years, The Outback, with the help of their patrons, has donated $2 million to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization providing everyday and emergency support for active troops, wounded warriors and their families.
  • Subway – free six inch sub: Select Subway locations offer a FREE six inch sub to military veterans on Veterans Day. However, Subway restaurants are franchises, so this offer may not be available everywhere. Please call ahead.
  • Texas Roadhouse – free meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Offer varies by location; our local Texas Roadhouse is offering a free meal from opening until 4:00 p.m. Other locations may vary in offer, hours, or availability. Call ahead to your local restaurant for more information.
  • T.G.I. Friday’s – Buy one, get one free Nov. 11-14. At participating locations for anyone with an old or current military ID.
  • Uno Chicago Grill, Friday, Nov. 11: Uno’s is offering a free entree or individual pizza with a purchase of an entree or pizza of equal or greater value. Offer good for all military veterans and active duty military. ID or proof of service required: Show up in uniform (if your service permits), provide military ID, show a picture of yourself in uniform, or have other ID showing proof of service. More info here.

Home Depot and Lowes Coupon Updates

  • Update: Home Depot and Lowes 10% Military Discount Available Everyday.
  • Home Depot - The Home Depot(R) is offering all active duty personnel, reservists, retired military, veterans and their families a 10 percent discount off their purchases in honor of Veterans Day. The offer is valid on purchases of up to $2,000 for a maximum of $200 and is available at The Home Depot stores, The Home Depot Design Center locations, Yardbirds and EXPO Design Center(R) locations. The 10 percent discount is available everyday for active duty and retirees, but not all veterans. Home Depot makes this offer available to all veterans on most military holidays. You can also find Home Depot discounts online.
  • Lowes - Lowe’s Companies, Inc. will offer all active, reserve, honorably discharged, retired military personnel and their immediate family members a 10 percent discount on in-store U.S. purchases made during the Veterans Day holiday. The discount is available Nov. 7 – Nov. 11. The discount is available on in-stock and special order purchases up to $5,000. To qualify, individuals must present a valid military ID or other proof of service. Excluded from the discount are sales via, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards. Like Home Depot, Lowes offers this discount daily to active duty military members, but not to veterans. However, they extend the offer to military veterans on military holidays. You can also find exclusive discounts at Lowe’

Free Park Admissions for Veterans Day

  • Anheuser-Busch Parks: Here's to the Heroes! Anheuser-Busch Parks offers Active Duty Service Members free admission for them and up to 3 dependents to any of their parks once a year. Throughout 2011, members of the military and as many as three direct dependents may enter SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place parks with a single-day complimentary admission. The Here’s to the Heroes program is only available to any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman. Eligible parks include: Adventure Island, Busch Gardens (Tampa Bay or Williamsburg), SeaWorld (Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio), Sesame Place, and Water Country USA. Not valid at Discovery Cove and Aquatica. Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. is not included as part of this program. For more information and to register, visit: Free admission summary, and ticket application.
  • Colonial Williamsburg Free Admission: Colonial Williamsburg offers free weekend-long admission tickets to active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, and their immediate dependents from Friday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 13th. The complimentary ticket includes admission to Colonial Williamsburg exhibition sites, art museums, and most daytime programs, as well as free parking and use of the shuttle bus system. Tickets are only available at on-site ticket sales locations. Tickets are also available to families of deployed service members. Tickets available on the following dates: Nov. 11-13.
  • Historic Jamestowne Free Admission: The National Park Service commemorates Veterans Day with Fee Free days at Historic Jamestowne Nov. 11-13. Free admission for everyone. See events calendar.
  • Knott’s Berry Farm Military Tribute Days Free Admission: Knott’s Berry Farm has an annual Military Tribute event in which they offer military members past and present by offering free park admission. This year, the Military Tribute Days run from Nov. 1 – 24 (Thanksgiving Day). Veterans or current serving military personnel, plus one guest get in FREE with proper ID presented at Knott’s turnstile (DD214, Veterans Administration Hospital ID or Active Military Service ID). Purchase up to six additional tickets for just $17 each. More info.
  • Fee Free Day at National Parks: To honor America’s service men and women, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that areas managed by the National Park Service would not charge entrance fees for Veterans Day weekend – Nov. 11-13, 2011. Over 100 national Parks will be participating in this event.
  • San Jacinto Monument and Museum (La Porte, TX): Nov. 7-13: Free admission to the theatre, Observation Floor and (on Nov. 12-13) the special exhibit to all veterans and their families. More info.
  • Bed and Breakfast for Vets: In the third year of the program, B&Bs for Vets has organized over 485 (and counting) participating bed and breakfasts and inns across the US and Canada which will be offering veterans a free night’s stay on Nov. 10, the night before Veterans Day. This offer is available to both active duty military members and veterans with ID, but space is limited. Each inn and B&B has at least one room available for this promotion and reservations must be made directly through the participating inns and B&Bs. For more information, visit B&Bs for Vets.
  • Free Hugo® Canes for Veterans: Sam’s Club® - locations nationwide will distribute 36,000 Hugo® canes free of charge on Nov. 9-11, 2011 to U.S. military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Limited quantities available, while supplies last. Sam’s Club® Membership is not required, but proof of military service may be required. For more information, visit

Other Veterans Day Discounts

Here are some additional Veterans Day Discounts. In all cases, be sure to provide proper ID or proof of service. In addition, some of these stores are franchises, so verify participation before assuming the discount is in place.
  • Free Car wash. Thousands of car washes around the country are offering vets a free car wash on Veterans Day. Find a list at Grace for Veterans, which helped veterans receive 101,537 FREE Washes on Veterans Day in 2010.
  • – Discount “Veterans Day Honor” MP3 album download. This downloadable album includes 12 songs as performed by the military bands and ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces. Visit Amazon on Veteran’s Day to download the album.
  • Netflix – One Month Free Trial.
  • Sport Clips – FREE haircut to active-duty military & veterans. Offer only available at select locations. Please call to verify local participation.
  • Tim Hortons – all US locations are offering a free donut to all veterans (check out the Star Spangled donut!).

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