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Veterans Day free meals: one way businesses are saying 'thanks'

Veterans Day free meals and discounts on merchandise are among the many deals businesses are offering to express gratitude to US military veterans and active-duty personnel.

By Staff writer / November 10, 2010

Dominic Harris sits with his father, Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Jeremiah Harris, as students are joined by their service-member parents for a Veterans Day tribute on Wednesday at Charles Barnum Elementary School in Groton, Conn. The school is near a US Navy base.

Sean D. Elliot/AP

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Need a meal or a haircut? Maybe a new power saw for your shop or even a bridal gown?

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If you’re a military vet, Veterans Day means all of these – and much more – are available to you free of charge or at a discounted price.

Across the country, restaurants, retail stores, lodgings, and recreational facilities – thousands of them – are offering special deals for veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families.

IN PICTURES: Veterans Day

For two years now, US Marine Corps vet David Nelson has gone door-to-door in Seattle, asking businesses if they’d like to honor military veterans in their community. Last year, his list of “freebies and discounts for veterans on Veterans Day” – posted online to his blog site – numbered 20. This year, it’s 30, mostly restaurants but also everything from the Seattle Art Museum to the Brown Bear Car Wash.

“Military deployments and training are hard on families, and to me it's an honor to name restaurants where a military family can sit down as a family and enjoy a meal after a day at the zoo at a minimal price,” says Mr. Nelson, now an instructor at local community colleges. “Lately, I've had businesses approaching me asking if they can be listed as places that will honor veterans.”

Several nationwide restaurant chains are having special deals for veterans, including Applebee’s, Famous Dave’s, Chili’s, and Outback Steak House. McCormick & Schmick’s offered vets a free meal last Sunday, and Golden Corral will have its 10th annual free “thank you” dinner for veterans, active-duty personnel, and those serving in the reserves or National Guard this coming Monday.

Still hungry? Stop off at Krispy Kreme for a free doughnut.

'It's a real privilege for us'

“It is a real privilege for us to serve our veterans and active-duty military on this national day of respect and remembrance,” says Applebee’s president Mike Archer. “We’re looking forward to hosting them again this year.”

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