Since the end of World War I, Americans have celebrated and commemorated veterans who served the country during times of war. Originally known as Armistice Day, the tradition began when the First World War officially ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. By 1938, the day had become a federal holiday.
Today, businesses across the country observe Veterans Day by offering military discounts and deals on Nov. 11 as a way of honoring the 1.3 million people who serve actively in the military, as well as the country’s 22 million veterans. Veterans have helped keep America free for over two centuries, so find out what they — as well as their families and the American public — get for free as a thank you.
5 Veterans Day 2017 Discounts for Everyone
The holiday might be about honoring the military, but everyone likes Veterans Day deals. Here are some discounts and offers that apply to the general public.
- Amazon: The online retailer offers 20 percent off select apparel for Veterans Day. Enter the code “20veterans” when checking out to enjoy the savings.
- Lassen Rural Bus: Hop on a bus in Lassen County, Calif., for free on Veterans Day. The Northeastern California county is adjacent to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Eagle Lake and more. Take your bike on the bus and pedal back to Susanville along the Bizz Johnson Trail.
- The National Park Service: Visitors can commemorate Veterans Day by catching breathtaking views throughout the National Park System for free on Veterans Day weekend.
- The National World War I Museum and Memorial: The museum in Kansas City, Mo., will offer free admission to vets and half-price admission to the general public on Nov. 10 to 12.
- Knott’s Berry Farm: This theme park in Buena Park, Calif., offers military personnel free admission for themselves and one guest during Military Tribute days, held Nov. 1 to 16 and Nov. 27 to Dec. 15. So, if you have a friend who’s a vet, you might be able to visit the park for nothing.
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28 Veterans Day Freebies and Discounts for Veterans and Their Families
The following freebies are available exclusively to military personnel, veterans and, in some cases, their families. Bring your military ID to take advantage of these exclusive offers.
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- 1-800-Flowers.com: Active-duty military and veterans can save 20 percent on a curated selection of floral arrangements and gifts from now through Dec. 31.
- Applebees: Veterans and active members of the military get a free meal at any of the nearly 1,900 Applebee’s restaurants in the United States on Veterans Day
- Aquarium of the Pacific: See colorful fish when the Long Beach, Calif., aquarium admits veterans and military personnel for free on Saturday, Nov. 11 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be sure to bring your service ID.
- Arizona Goat Yoga: Strike a pose while goats assist by standing on your back. Bring your military ID for a free class on Saturday, Nov. 11 in Gilbert, Ariz.
- Army Corp of Engineers Recreation Areas: The sites are waiving day-use fees for their boat ramps and swimming beaches. The fee waiver doesn’t apply to group picnic shelters or campsites.
- Back Yard Burgers: Veterans and active-duty service members can enjoy Veterans Day 2017 free meals that include a Black Angus burger with military ID.
- Boston Market: All military families are offered a BOGO deal – buy one individual meal with a drink and get a second free – on Veteran’s Day weekend (Friday, Nov. 10 – Sunday, Nov. 12) at all U.S. locations. A coupon (but no I.D.) is required and available at BostonMarket.com
- Brides Across America: The organization hosts its bi-annual wedding gown giveaway events across the country in November and July. Although gowns are free, you must pay a $40 fee to attend. Brides must be military members, first responders or engaged to marry someone who is in the military with a deployment in the past five years or one upcoming.
- B&Bs for Vets: Multiple inns around the country offer a free night on and around Veterans Day. You must provide proof of military service to take advantage of the offer.
- Cabela’s: The store’s Hometown Heroes Celebration rolls out a 5 percent discount on purchases made by active duty military, veterans, retirees and those in the National Guard and Reserves. Discounts apply to phone and online orders, as well as in-store purchases and items on Veterans Day Sales.
- California Dreaming: Veterans and active-duty military can get a free meal on Sunday, Nov. 12 with ID.
- California Pizza Kitchen: Get a free entree from California Pizza Kitchen’s Veterans Day menu on Nov. 11. Bring your military ID or wear your uniform.
- Chophouse: Show your ID and get a free entree on Sunday, Nov. 12 at Chophouse New Orleans or Chophouse ’47 in Greenville, S.C.
- Colonial Williamsburg, Va.: The historic city rolls out special programs for Veterans Day, including a military march and commemorative ceremony. Take advantage of one free complimentary admission per year for an active military member and up to three dependents.
- Farmer Boys: This fast-casual restaurant is offering free Big Cheese cheeseburgers to veterans and active duty military with valid proof of service. The Farmer Boys deal is happening on Friday, Nov 10 on the observance of Veteran’s Day. You can visit their website for more info.
- Fogo de Chão: This Brazillian steakhouse is offering all veterans and active duty personnel 50% off their entire meal on Veteran’s Day weekend (Friday, Nov. 10 – Sunday, Nov. 12) at all U.S. locations; up to three guests (for each military veteran or personnel) will also receive 10% off their meal.
- Military Appreciation Week in Duluth-Superior: Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wisc., sit just across the St. Louis River from each other and co-host Military Appreciation Week Nov. 10 to 19 with sales, discounts and free stuff for veterans. Get 50 percent off at the Inn on Lake Superior and 10 percent to 20 percent savings at area retailers, attractions, restaurants and hotels.
- Golden Corral: Enjoy a complimentary thank-you meal Monday, Nov. 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Family members can join you but will have to pay full price.
- Grace for Vets: The organization’s website lets you seek out places to get your car washed free at 2,841 locations.
- Great Clips: The hair salon is offering free cuts for military members and veterans. If you aren’t ready for a trim, stop by to get a free haircut card to use when you’re ready.
- Harley-Davidson Museum: Veterans, their spouses and up to four children get free admission to the famous motorcycle museum in Milwaukee, Wisc., where you can learn about the historic role of Harleys in the military.
- Killington Resort: The Vermont ski resort gives vets and active-duty military free lift tickets on Veterans Day. Bring a copy of your military ID.
- Veterans Day in Montpelier: Visit James Madison’s famous Virginia plantation for free on Veterans Day weekend. Active duty and retired military will also receive a 10 percent discount on any purchase from the Museum Shop.
- New York Prime: Enjoy a free entree on Sunday, Nov. 12 when you show your military ID. The luxe restaurant has locations in Boca Raton, Fla., Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Atlanta.
- Outback Steakhouse: Get a free Bloomin’ Onion during the week leading up to Veterans Day with your military ID.
- Premier Eyecare: This Knoxville, Tenn., eye center will host free comprehensive exams for vets on Nov. 10 to 11. The deal includes free frames up to $250 in value. Call ahead to book an exam.
- Rack Room Shoes: Get 10 percent off when you present your valid U.S. military ID and buy shoes for yourself and dependents.
- San Diego Seal Tours: Veterans and active military members ride free on Veterans Day with an ID. The land and sea vehicle tours the streets of San Diego before splashing into San Diego Harbor for a cruise.
- Sport Clips Haircuts: Get a free clip on Nov. 11 at select store locations if you’re active military or a veteran. One dollar from all paid haircuts that day will go to the company’s Help a Hero promotion.
- Tavern at Phipps: Get free entrees for veterans and active military with ID at this Downtown Atlanta hotspot. Accompanying family members enjoy a 25 percent discount.
- Tropicana Laughlin: Attend a patriotic pig roast on Nov. 12 in Laughlin, Nev., with free admission for vets and a guest. If you don’t have a Trop Advantage Veterans Player’s Card, you must sign up on the corporate website by Nov. 2 to participate.
- Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden: The garden opens its door to veterans for free on Nov. 11.
View Nov. 11 as a day to stop, take pause and commemorate those who served. In America, this day is used to celebrate every veteran of every war — and businesses nationwide are happy to thank them for their service with special deals.