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Memorial Day freebies: Where military members can get free food and fun

In honor of the men and women who gave their lives for their country, businesses from restaurants to water parks are offering freebies, deals and discounts to active and retired military members this Memorial Day. 

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    Seaman Ryan Edun of the US Navy rehearses the playing of 'Taps' before the annual Knights of Columbus Memorial Day Tribute at the Dade County Courthouse in Miami.
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Memorial Day is this Monday, May 25, and in honor of the men and women who gave their lives for their country, many businesses are offering freebies, deals and discounts to active and retired military members.

Remember, in order to receive these offers you may need to provide proof of military service. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Wear your uniform
  • Bring a picture of yourself in uniform
  • Present a US Uniform Services ID card
  • Present a current Leave and Earnings Statement
  • Present a Veterans Organization Card (American Legion or VFW)
  • Present discharge paperwork

Many establishments won't be very strict on this, but it's always best to be prepared. It's also a good idea to call ahead before redeeming a free meal or discount on Memorial Day.

Restaurant Freebies & Discounts

  • Applebees -- Military members can get $5 meals with a military ID all day on Monday, and during the month of May, use your ID to enjoy 15 percent off your entire food purchase (can't be combined with the $5 meal).
  • Chick-Fil-A -- Military members and their families in the Washington, D.C. area can get a free meal on Wednesday, May 20 between 4 and 7pm.
  • Red Robin -- Get a free appetizer with a $10 purchase with proof of military service.
  • Shoney's -- Service members can get a free All-American Burger all day on Monday when they sign up for a reminder and a coupon.
  • Texas de Brazil -- Military members can receive a complimentary dessert with the purchase of a regular lunch or dinner when they show proof of service.

Retail Freebies & Discounts

  • Lowe's -- While active duty military members always enjoy a 10 percent discount at Lowe's, on Memorial Day they extend this to veterans as well.
  • Overstock.com -- Free Club O Membership (a $19.99 value) to military members.
  • Rack Room Shoes -- Military members and their dependents can save 10 percent off their purchase on Monday.
  • Sam's Club -- Through May 31, service members can get a $15 gift card, a free rotisserie chicken, a free portion of mac and cheese, and free cookies when signing up for or renewing a Sam's Club membership.
  • Target -- Show this coupon and your military ID and get a free 8x10" picture, complimentary sitting fees and 50 percent off your portrait package.

Travel & Recreation Freebies & Discounts

  • Blue Star Museums -- More than 2,000 national museums will offer free admission between Memorial Day and Labor Day to active-duty military members and their families.
  • California's Great America -- Free park admission to military personnel with a valid ID, and up to six guests for $19.99 each. Valid May 23-25.
  • Colonial Williamsburg -- Free admission to military members and their dependents.
  • Kings Dominion -- Free admission to active, inactive or retired US military members with valid IDs between May 23-25 AND July 4-5.
  • Kings Island -- Free admission for all military members and the ability to purchase up to six tickets for friends and family for just $29.99 at the front gate. Valid May 22-25 and July 3-5.
  • Knott's Berry Farm -- Free admission for all service members and up to six discounted tickets from May 23-25.
  • Michigan's Adventure -- Free admission to military members and the ability to purchase up to six tickets for friends and family for just $24 each. Valid May 24 and 25.
  • Valleyfair -- Free admission for all military members and the ability to purchase up to six tickets for friends and family for just $29.99 at the front gate. Valid May 22-25 and July 2-5.
  • Wildwater Kingdom -- Free admission for active and inactive service men and women. Valid May 23-25

The team Brad's Deals wishes you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. For more military discounts, check out our list of 230+ stores and services that offer year-round deals and freebies to military members.

This article first appeared in Brad's Deals. 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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