Valdosta Daily Times


November 10, 2013

The official budgeteer salute to our veterans

VALDOSTA — My dad served in the Army for 20 years. I was lucky enough to have him retire before 9/11. My dad served in the 3rd Infantry Division on Ft. Stewart, so when everything started happening in the Middle East, they were among the first to go.

While the war affected the entire country, kids like me back in Hinesville were hit especially hard. We were a military community, and every time a soldier was killed, they would plant a tree. There are a lot of trees on Ft. Stewart, too many. While my dad barely missed a deployment to Afghanistan, he did deploy to Kuwait, which for a child and a family is just as bad. He missed an entire year of my life. I remember learning about Vietnam in school, and it doesn’t click for a lot of kids, but it always clicked for me and all the other Army Brats. No one watches the news and every time the phone rings, your heart sinks in your stomach just a little bit.

So when Veterans Day rolls around (like it will on Monday), I take it very seriously. A lot of retailers have used Veterans Day (among other holidays) to boost sales. This is great, and honestly, anything a retailer will do to support veterans is amazing, but I am just asking you to not let your Veterans Day be all about shopping. Veterans Day is about honoring men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces. If you know one, thank them; if you don’t know one, find one and thank them anyway.

This Veterans Day is particularly important because let’s be honest, it’s been a rough time for our country. While some veterans attending college on the G.I. Bill were not affected by the government shutdown, others who had different means of funding were. There are veterans on America’s streets who are jobless, struggling to support their families, some even homeless. A mentality to help those in need has been developed by our government, and yet, the needs of our veterans are often forgotten. As a country, it is important to let veterans know that we are here for them, even when the government they fought for may not be.

While you will have to find the sales on your own (I recommend Google because it knows everything), here is a list of some restaurants who are offering freebies to our veterans and service members. Keep in mind, these are just restaurants that have promoted this, this doesn’t mean other restaurants aren’t offering deals as well. All you have to do is call and ask. Also, don’t forget to thank these restaurants. With the economy being so rough for so long, this means business has been rough. However, these businesses have chosen to put humanity over profits, and quite frankly, now days that is very rare.

• On Monday, Nov. 11, veterans and active-duty military will receive a free signature entree from Applebee’s.

• When you dine at Chili’s on Sunday, Nov. 10, 10 percent of the proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Go to to print the flyer that you need to present at the time of your meal. On Monday, Nov. 11, veterans and active-duty military will receive a free entree from a select menu.

• On Monday, Nov. 11, at Olive Garden, veterans and active-duty service members will receive a free entree from a select menu. Family members dining with them will receive 10 percent off their meal.

• Texas Roadhouse offers veterans and active-duty military a free lunch from their special veterans menu on Monday, Nov. 11.

• Veterans and active-duty military can enjoy a free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage at Outback Steakhouse on Monday, Nov. 11.

• At Longhorn Steakhouse, service members receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and a non-alcoholic beverage from Monday, Nov. 11 – Thursday, Nov. 14.

• At Red Lobster on Monday, Nov. 11 through to Thursday Nov. 14, stop in for a free appetizer on Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets will have a choice of appetizers from a special group picked for this free offer.

• At Denny’s, enjoy free all-you-can-eat pancakes from 6 a.m.–2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 for all active, retirees, and veterans with proof of military service.

• Little Caesar’s offers a free order of Crazy Bread to veterans and active-duty military who show ID on Monday, Nov. 11.

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