[This is an old story. Click here for an updated post about where veterans can eat for free on Veterans Day this year.]
One small way that members of our armed services are thanked for serving our country comes via the many special discounts provided by flashing a military ID. Many restaurants and hotels offer an automatic discount, and some museums and attractions are free year-round to veterans and active-duty military.
There are also loads of free food deals and other giveaways available to customers with military ID every year on Memorial Day, and, of course, Veterans Day. Below, we've rounded up all the freebies focused on Veterans Day 2016 (Friday, November 11) that we could confirm. The list features more than 40 restaurants with free food for veterans and active-duty military. There are some great Veterans Day deals for things like free haircuts and oil changes highlighted down below as well.
In almost all cases, proof of service (military ID, or showing up in uniform) is required to take advantage of these special offers. And the fine print for all of these kinds of giveaways always stipulates that they're valid only in "participating locations." We'll add to our roundup of special Veterans Day giveaways as more deals surface. Happy Veterans Day!
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Ben's Soft Pretzels: All veterans and active military get a free Jumbo Soft Pretzel on November 11.
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse: Show a military ID and you'll get a free entrée (value up to $12.95) on Veterans Day.
Black Angus Steakhouse: All 46 Black Angus locations in the U.S. will serve customers with military ID a free top sirloin steak meal, free of charge, on Veterans Day.
Bob Evans: Veterans and active military members get free breakfast, served all day on Veterans Day, plus 10% off your bill on future visits anytime through the end of the year.
Bonefish Grill: All active and retired military with ID get a free order of Bang Bang Shrimp on November 11.
Boston Market: Active or retired military and their families can get a free brownie or cookie with any purchase on November 11, no ID required.
Buffalo Wild Wings: Show proof of military service and you'll get a small order of wings and fries for free on Veterans Day.
Chevys: Active and retired military get a choice of items like Mesquite Grilled Chicken, Steak Fajitas, or Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas free of charge on November 11.
Chicken Salad Chick: Veterans and active military get an Original Chick meal—sandwich or scoop of chicken salad, with a choice of sides, pickle, cookie, and a drink—at no charge on November 11.
Cracker Barrel: On November 11, all customers with military ID can get an order of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake on the house.
Denny's: Get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast from 5 a.m. until noon at participating Denny's locations on November 11.
Fazoli's: Customers with military ID get a free build-your-own pasta bowl, with a choice of noodles and sauces, on November 11.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse: Veterans and active-duty personnel get 50% off their bill, plus 10% off for up to three guests, on Veterans Day.
Hooters: Show military ID or proof of service on November 11 and you'll get a free entrée—choices include 10-piece wings, Hooters Burger, and Buffalo Chicken Salad.
Houlihan's: All guests with military ID get a free entrée (value up to $15) with the purchase of another entrée, at participating locations on November 11.
IHOP: Show proof of military service and you're welcomed to a free order of red, white, and blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at participating IHOPs on November 11. The pancakes come with strawberries (red), whipped cream (white), and blueberry compote (blue). Some locations are offering an alternate freebie, with a combo order of two eggs, hash browns and choice of two bacon strips or pork.
Little Caesars: Veterans and active military can get a free lunch combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at participating Little Caesars locations on Friday.
Logan's Roadhouse: Show military ID on Veterans Day and you'll get a free meal featuring a select choice of entrees at this casual dining chain with more than 200 locations in 23 states.
LongHorn Steakhouse: Customers with military ID can enjoy a free dessert or appetizer on Veterans Day, and the entire table gets a 10% discount on the bill.
McCormick & Schmick's: Guests with military ID, as well as Gold Star honorees—parents and spouses of active-duty military—are welcomed to a choice of free entrées like salmon rigatoni and tender beef medallions on Sunday, November 6,.
Menchie's: Show military ID and your first 6 ounces of frozen yogurt are free on Veterans Day.
Olive Garden: Veterans and active military can select a free entree from a special menu, with unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks included.
On the Border: Customers with military ID get a choice of free combo meals on Veterans Day.
Red Lobster: On November 10 and 11, customers with military ID get a choice of free appetizer or dessert.
Red Robin: Get a free Red's Tavern Double Burger plus unlimited steak fries with a military ID on November 11.
Ruby Tuesday: Show military ID for a free appetizer (value up to $10) on November 11.
TGI Fridays: From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 11, customers with military ID can order a lunch menu item worth up to $12, free of charge.
World of Beer: Show military ID and you'll get a free draught beer on Veterans Day in states where it's allowed. In places where such giveaways are illegal, World of Beer locations will give veterans and active military $5 off any food order.
Yard House: Veterans and active-duty military get a free appetizer on November 11 with proper ID.
Great Clips: Bring in proof of military service on November 11 and you'll get a free haircut or a card valid for a free haircut through December 31. All other customers who get a haircut on November 11 receive a card that can be gifted to a veteran or active-duty member of the military valid through December 31.
Harley-Davidson Museum: From November 11, all active and retired military and their families (one adult and up to four kids) get free admission.
National Parks: Free admission is granted on November 11 for all guests at parks and federal lands that normally charge an entrance fee
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Meineke: Free basic oil changes for all customers with military ID on Veterans Day.
UFC Gym: From Friday, November 11, to Sunday, November 13, veterans and active-duty military and their families can use 130+ UFC Gym locations nationwide free of charge. Special training sessions on Saturday are free as well.