National Doughnut Day: How it honors those who served

National Doughnut Day is here again, meaning free doughnuts for those who know where to look in stores and online. This year, it also falls on the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

National Doughnut Day is a historical holiday based on service that still gives everyone an opportunity to indulge.

Don't be confused. D-Day does not mean National Doughnut Day, although both have important ties to military history and they both fall on Friday, June 6 this year.

The first Friday in June is designated as National Doughnut Day, a holiday established in 1938 by the Salvation Army to honor volunteers who made doughnuts for soldiers serving overseas during World War I. It just so happens that today also marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944 and a major turning point in World War II.

Dunkin Donuts returns with its annual deal of a free doughnut with the purchase of any beverage. Krispy Kreme has taken it even a step further by offering a free doughnut to anyone who walks in their stores, though only one per customer. New England local Honey Dew Donuts is offering a free Oreo doughnut with the purchase of any medium-sized drink.

New England-based Dunkin Donuts and Southern-based giant Krispy Kreme have long competed over the doughnut market and today is the day for each one to show off their stuff. Doughnut company Entemann’s, however, is holding an online raffle where visitors to its Facebook page can enter to win free doughnuts for an entire year.

So where did these delicious snacks even come from? Beignets are from France, fastnachts are from Germany, churros are from Spain but what about doughnuts? We'll toss it to the seas of historical culinary lore. Maine sea captain Hanson Gregory could have been the (hungry) mastermind behind the delicacy. Cutting a hole in that doughy circle of fried goodness made them easier to properly cook, and more importantly, eat, whether dunked in coffee or stacked on the spokes of a ship’s wheel (so the story goes).

Regardless, whether fueled by patriotic duty or simply hunger, prepare for your doughnut crawl and chow down on these delicious confections – powdered sugar, frosting, and crème, oh my! – because it's fun. And Happy National Doughnut Day.

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