Veterans Day Celebrations
Veterans Day is quickly coming up! Just a couple of days to go to it and if you still haven’t decided how you would be spending this day, then you have come to the right place.
As an Air Force Veteran myself, I always look for ways I can go celebrate the day with fellow veterans and military spouses. Considering that this is a special occasion where the United States gets to thank all its veterans for having served their duties to the best of their abilities, several businesses follow the lead as well with offering complimentary things to veterans.
From lunches and dinners to free entries to several awesome museums, there is a lot that you can choose from to make this year’s Veterans Day a special one. Let’s get started with the list.
1. Veterans Day Parade (New York City and Manassas, Virginia)
If you want to experience Veterans Day in full swing, what would be a better way to do so than to check out the Veterans Day parade in New York? Since New York City is only approximately 4 hours away from Northern Virginia, it’s a great place to be for Veteran’s Day.
It is considered to be one of the best events in New York and for good reasons! The New York City Veterans Day Parade is produced by the United War Veterans Council and is considered the largest Veterans Day event in the United States. The procession is going to leave you impressed for sure. The parade will be on November 11 and begins at 11 am. They begin the festivities with a Wreath Laying Ceremony at 10 am and the parade follows. Can you believe they even have an after party following the parade? For more information visit: http://www.veteransweeknyc.org/schedule/. Also on November 11 at 5pm at the AMC Loews 34th Street, IMAX Theater in NYC they will be giving a Special Free Movie Screening.
New York isn’t the only place organizing parades. Another one that you can attend is in Manassas, Virginia; “Manassas Veterans Day Parade.” They also put up an amazing show which features several high-school and even military bands, military vehicle shows and much, much more. The Greater Manassas Veterans Day Parade will be on November 4 at 11 am in Old Town Manassas. The parade will begin at the intersection of Prescott Ave and Quarry Road. The parade route: http://www.vetpar.org/index.php/parade/parade-route.
2. Tours of the Memorials
Unarguably one of the best things to do on Veterans Day is to book yourself a place in one of the tours that will take you to various memorials in the area. You will get to learn so much about all the services veterans have done for us. They also have wreath-laying ceremonies.
Following are the memorials you can tour on Veterans Day:
3. National Cathedral Veterans Day Tribute Concert
If you want to see a lot more than wreath-laying ceremonies, attending concerts paying tributes to veterans is yet another thing you can do. With that respect, National Cathedral Veterans Day Tribute Concert is one of the highly recommended ones. You also get a chance to see the US Marine Corps Orchestra in action!
Other places also host concerts like Mount Vernon. Their community concert (barbershop concert) always has a huge turn up every Veterans Day. And if you are a Veteran attending one of these concerts yourself, you do not have to pay anything whatsoever -- it's free!
Other than museums and concerts, you may also get to avail various discount offers on restaurants and shops. There are so many deals that go up just on this occasion alone that you would be in for quite a lot of options. In addition to discounts, some places especially restaurants may even offer you free meals! For more information, visit here. Please ensure you get your reservation in quickly to receive your passes.
4. Veterans Day Activities in Washington DC, Woodbridge, VA, and surrounding areas
There will be several different activities celebrating and honoring the Veterans around Washington DC and the surrounding suburbs. This is a quick list of several different activities.
5. Restaurants offering discounts or complimentary meals
Applebee’s -- Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu, on November 11.
Back Yard Burgers --On November 11, active duty service members and veterans get a free Back Yard Classic Burger.
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse -- All service members can enjoy a complimentary entree up to $12.95 by presenting a military ID or proof of service on November 10 and 11.
Bruegger's Bagels -- Veterans and active duty military members get a free small drip coffee on November 11 at participating locations.
Cicis Pizza -- Get a free pizza buffet with Military ID on November 11.
Cotton Patch Cafe -- Veterans and active duty military get a free chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken on November 11.
Golden Corral -- Golden Corral Restaurants' Military Appreciation Night free dinner will be available on November 13, from 5pm to 9pm Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.
Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ -- During the month of November, active duty and veteran military personnel get 20% off. On Veterans Day, active duty military and veterans get a complimentary dessert on top of the 20%.
Mimi’s Cafe -- Veterans or active duty military personnel can select from a special menu on November 11 for free. Drink purchase required.
On the Border -- Active and retired members of the military get a free combo meal on November 11. The meal is from the “Create Your Own Combo menu”, which is a “choose 2” or “choose 3” menu.
Texas Roadhouse -- Texas Roadhouse locations nationwide will offer veterans a free lunch on November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Offer is good for active duty, retired or former U.S. military. See menu.
Outback Steakhouse -- Free Bloomin' Onion and Coca-Cola on November 11 (with show of valid military ID). Also, enjoy 15% off your entire check from November 12 through December 31.
Famous Daves – Free Two Meat Salute; on Saturday November 11, in honor of Veteran’s Day, Famous Daves is offering a complimentary meal to former and current military members. There is a choice of two meats, one choice of side and a cornbread muffin. Meat Choices include: Georgia Chopped Pork, Country-Roasted Chicken, Barbeque Chicken, Sweetwater Catfish Fingers, Traditional Wings, Boneless Wings, Southside Rib Tips, Chicken Tenders, and Texas Beef Brisket. This is a Dine-In only promotion.
Little Ceasars – Veterans or active duty member will receive a free $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo at participating stores from 11am to 2pm. This includes four slices of pizza and a 20 ounce Pepsi product.
Mission BBQ – Veterans and active duty will receive a free sandwich and a slice of cake (while supplies last)
Red Lobster - Active duty military, reserve, and veterans will get a free appetizer or dessert on Saturday, November 11.
TGI Fridays - Free lunch for all veterans and active-duty military on November 11 from 11am to 2pm. Valid at participating locations only.
Red Robin - Veterans and active-duty military will receive a free Red's Tavern Double burger and bottomless steak fries on November 11.
IHOP - On Friday, November 10, IHOP will be giving a free stack of Red, White, and Blue pancakes to veterans and active duty military. Members must show proof of service, such as coming in uniform, showing military ID, or DD Form 214.
Carrabba's - Free appetizer on Saturday, November 11. Active duty military and veterans will receive a free appetizer of your choice on Saturday, November 11. There's no purchase necessary or coupon required.
Bonefish Grill - In honor of Veterans Day, Bonefish Grill is offering a free Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer to veterans and active duty military on Saturday, November 11.
Bob Evans - FREE meal on Saturday, November 11. Veterans and active duty military personnel will receive free breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Choices include stack of hotcakes, fresh baked brioche french toast, country biscuit breakfast, mini sampler breakfast, farm boy sandwich, or country fried steak dinner.
Cracker Barrel - Free dessert on November 11. Cracker Barrel is giving veterans a double chocolate fudge Coca Cake dessert.
Carlo's Bakery (The Cake Boss) - Free Cannolis on Saturday, November 11. Get a free large cannoli plain or chocolate.
Friendly's - Free breakfast, lunch or dinner (dine-in only) on Saturday, November 11.
Bar Louie - Free burger or free flatbread offer is valid at participating Bar Louie locations on Saturday, November 11.
O'Charley's - Veterans and active duty military members will receive a free mean from the $9.99 menu on Saturday, November 11. Choice include the Famous Chicken Tenders & Fries, Honey Drizzled Southern-Fried Chicken, Home-style Chicken Pot Pie, and more.
White Castle - Free meal on Saturday, November 11.
Fazoli's - Free spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara.
Chevy's Fresh Mex - Active duty and retired military members can visit participating Chevy's Fresh Mex on November 11 between 11am and 10pm to get a free 3-item combo meal. You can create your own Veterans Day meal with these options: Enchiladas, soft or crispy tacos, tamales, flautas, or chile relleno. Your 3-item combo also includes sweet corn tamalito and your choice of homemade beans, refried beans, or vegetarian black beans.
Glory Days Grill - Veterans and active duty military members can enjoy a free appetizer or order boneless or regular wings at Glory Days Grill on Saturday, November 11.
Peet's Coffee & Tea - Free coffee or tea from Peet's on November 11.
6. GWOT Memorial Foundation
Have you heard of the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation? They are a non-profit organization looking to honor the servicemen and women who has served in our nation’s longest war –the war on terrorism, the fallen warriors, their families, and those who have worked in support. They are hoping to raise the awareness about their project and raise funds in order to have a memorial built on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The GWOT has a goal of having the memorial finished no later than September 2024.
On August 18, 2017, President Trump signed the bill approving the construction of the national memorial honoring those who have fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. According to The Star and Stripes, more than 2.5 million Americans have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Department of Defense say nearly 7,000 people have been killed. The GWOT Memorial Foundation hopes to raise $40 to $50 million dollars for the privately funded memorial. For more information, please visit here.
If you see a veteran today (or any day), say “thank you for your service”. With all the different conflicts the United States is currently involved with, please give some thought to the sacrifices they are making not only for their country, but many military members have spouses and children. So they are sacrificing time with their loved ones to keep us safe. It is always an honor to have the privilege to photograph military members and their families in Northern Virginia and the surrounding areas.
Happy Veterans Day from Tamieka Smith Photography
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Hello, I'm Tamieka, owner of Tamieka Smith Photography. I would love to help you plan your family's sunset portraits in Northern Virginia (or surrounding area) or photograph your military ceremony — possibly both. Working with families and military members is my specialty. I hope you'll look at my recent work and all that’s available for you. I hope we're able to work together and I’m able to document your family’s history.