The ultimate, big bad list of 2020 Veterans Day discounts and freebies - We Are The Mighty
Veterans

The ultimate, big bad list of 2020 Veterans Day discounts and freebies

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the day the world rejoices, the skies part and veterans are offered countless freebies. This year, retailers across the country are offering deep discounts on everything from car washes to televisions. Make sure you double check the official site information and specific rules before heading out to claim your discount. You’ll need to bring your CAC, be in uniform or have proof of your veteran status to get the discounts. Some promotions include fine print that indicate participating locations only, so call ahead or reach out on social media first. 

Dining discounts available all November 

Eat’n Park
All active and former United States military personnel will receive a special 10% discount for the entire month of November.

Golden Corral
From November 1 – November 30, 2020, all active and former military members can pick up a free “thank you meal” promotional card that’s good for one free lunch or dinner buffet and beverage. The promotional card can be used Monday – Thursday after 11am from November 1 – May 31, 2021. One promotional card per person.

McCormick and Schmick’s Free Entree
Veterans and Gold Star families (parents and spouses) can enjoy a half priced lunch or dinner at McCormick and Schmick’s on Sunday, November 8th, 2020.

Texas de Brazil
Veterans receive 25% off dinner Monday, November 9 through Thursday, November 12.

Tucanos
Free Churrasco Meal with the purchase of another Churrasco meal or a ½ price meal available for veterans dining solo). Plus, post a selfie at Tucano’s and get a free dessert certificate. Mon., Nov. 9 through Wed., Nov. 11.

Dining discounts available on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

54th Street Grill & Bar
Free entree up to $12 on Veterans Day (Wed 11-11-20) for Veterans + Active Duty who dine inside 54th Street. #54supportsvets

7-Eleven
Get a free coffee or Big Gulp on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day. Download the 7-Eleven app and sign in or register.

Ahipoke Bowl
On Nov. 11, veterans and active-duty military receive 50% off poke bowls. Dine-in or take out.

Applebee’s
Veterans and Active Duty Military can select a free meal from a limited menu on veterans Day. Provide proof of service required.

Arooga’s
Active Duty military and veterans with a valid ID can choose a free item from a special menu on 11/11/2020 at participating locations

Aspen Creek Grill
On Wednesday, Nov. 11th, all veterans and active duty military can select from a complimentary menu from 11 am to close.

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Veterans & Active Duty servicemen and women receive a free BD’s All American Burger & side with valid Military ID. In person only.

Bagger Dave’s
Active, non-active, reservists, retired personnel, and first responders with proof of military identification get one Great American Cheeseburger and fries. 

Bandana’s Bar-B-Q
Veterans and active duty get a free Budget Buster Meal on Wednesday, 11/11/20.

Bar Louie
Wednesday, November 11th Louie nation is offering a free craft burger or flatbread of your choice to all active or retired military.

Ben’s Soft Pretzels‏
Free pretzel for veterans and active military.

BIBIBOP Asian Grill
BIBIBOP is giving all Veterans and Active Duty Military a free bowl.

Black Angus Steakhouse
Participating restaurants will offer veterans and active military an All-American Steak Plate for just $10.99 plus all the fixings and a non- alcoholic beverage. 

BJ’s Restaurant
All service members can enjoy a complimentary entree up to $14.95, plus a free Dr Pepper, by presenting a military ID or proof of service.

Bob Evans
Bob Evans Restaurants are offering free select menu items to Veterans and Active Duty Military.

Brick House Tavern + Tap
20% off meal on Nov. 11 for veterans and parties up to 4.

Bubba Gump Shrimp
Military personnel and their families receive 20% off on food and retail purchases.

Buffalo Wild Wings Free Wings
Veterans and active duty military who dine-in at their local B-Dubs can receive a free one order of boneless wings and a side of fries. 

Calhoun’s
All veterans and active duty military members can enjoy a free meal.

California Pizza Kitchen
On Veterans Day, all veterans or active duty military personnel will be able to select a free entree from a special Veterans Day menu including pizza, salads and pasta. Please come in uniform or bring your military ID or other proof of service.

Cantina Laredo
Veterans and active duty military can receive a complimentary meal on Wed., Nov. 11.

Casey’s General Store
Casey’s is providing free coffee across its more than 2,200 locations.

Cattlemens Steakhouse
Cattlemens Steakhouse offers current and former military members a complimentary 8 oz. Sirloin Steak dinner.

CentraArchy Restaurants
CentraArchy Restaurants are showing their gratitude by honoring veterans and active duty military service members with 50% off an entrée. 

Chicken Salad Chick
Chicken Salad Chick is offering a free Chick Special and regular size drink to any veteran or active-duty military personnel who visits.

Chili’s Grill & Bar
All veterans and active duty military personnel can choose a complimentary meal from a select menu on Veterans Day 2020.

Cicis Pizza
Free adult buffet with valid active duty or retired military ID on 11/11/20.

Coco’s Bakery & Restaurant
Receive a free slice of pie for all Veterans and Active Duty Military with proof of service plus buy one get one free entree for breakfast, lunch or dinner on Veterans Day.

Colton’s Steak House
Veterans eat free from 11am-4pm. Free entree valid for all active, former, or retired military when ordering from Veterans Day menu.

Connors Steak & Seafood
Connors Steak & Seafood locations in TN, AL, and FL are offering 50% off any dine-in lunch or dinner entree to all active duty and retired service members with military ID or in uniform.

Cotton Patch Cafe
Veterans and active duty may enjoy a free Chicken Fried Steak or Chicken Fried Chicken on veterans Day.

Country Cookin
All active, reserve, retired, and honorably discharged members of the U.S. military are invited to dine and receive a free salad bar or $5 off any entree.

Country Kitchen Restaurants
Free country scramble for active & retired military at participating locations.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
During Military Family Appreciation Month Cracker Barrel will offer in-store specials on Veterans Day for military veterans and promotions throughout November to support military families in partnership with Operation Homefront. On 11/11, veterans can receive a free slice of Double Fudge Coca-Cola Cake with their meal.

Crooked Pint Ale House
On Nov 11. veterans and active military eat free.

Denny’s
All active, non-active or retired military personnel at all participating Denny’s restaurants nationwide will receive a free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 5 a.m. to noon. Diners must show ID to receive this offer.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Free Pulled Pork Classic Sandwich this Veterans Day. To redeem in-store, veterans and current military personnel must present a military ID or valid proof of service.

Drake’s
Veterans and active duty military will receive a complimentary meal at participating locations.

Dunkin’ Donuts
On November 11, Veterans and active duty military can enjoy a free donut at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide, no purchase necessary.

Einstein Bros. Bagels
On 11/11/20 veterans and active-duty military get a free hot or iced medium coffee.

Famous Dave’s
On Nov. 11 in honor of veterans Day all former and current military personnel will receive a free two meat Combo. Dine-in or To-Go.

Farmer Boys
Wednesday, Nov. 11 veterans and active duty military with valid proof of service get a free big cheese cheeseburger.

Firebirds
Complimentary meals to active duty military and veterans on Veterans Day.

Frickers Restaurants
Veterans get 10 free wings (boneless or traditional) on Nov. 11.

Friendly’s Free Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military, with a valid military ID or honorable discharge card, to a free All-American meal for lunch or dinner, which consists of the All-American Burger, served with a side of fries and a drink. The burger can be upgraded to a cheeseburger for free.

Glory Days Grill
Free appetizer or a regular order of boneless or grilled boneless wings.

Gold Star Chili
Enjoy a free 3-way and drink on Veterans Day. For all who served.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants
Participating locations will offer veterans and active duty military a complimentary free entrée from a Veterans Day menu.

Green Mill Restaurant and Bar
Veterans and Active Duty Military will receive a free lunch or dinner dine-in meal at participating locations. Must show proof of service, and beverages and gratuity are not included in free meal.

Hamburger Stand
All veterans and active duty with a valid military ID receive a free hamburger, regular fries, and a small Pepsi.

hopdoddy burger bar
Free Classic Burger with Cheese for veterans on 11/11/20. Redeemable for in-store dining or to-go orders placed by phone.

Hoss’s Family Steak & Sea House
20% off meals on 11/11 for all veterans.

Houlihan’s
Receive a free entrée from a select menu with proof of veteran status or active service in the military.

Huddle House
Huddle House is offering a free MVP Breakfast Platter to all active military members and veterans with proper I.D.

Huey Magoo’s
Treat a veteran or active military member with proper I.D. to a free meal for one when you purchase a meal for one and two beverages on Veterans Day.

Hy-Vee Free Breakfast
Enjoy a free curbside pickup breakfast for veterans and active military members November 11, 2020 from 6 – 10 a.m.

IHOP
All active duty and Veterans are invited to come in and enjoy Free Red, White, & Blue Pancakes on Monday, November 11, from 7 am to 7 pm.

J Christopher’s
Wednesday, November 11th, those who served receive a free meal.

Joe’s Crab Shack
On November 11th, all veterans can enjoy 20% off. Valid for parties up to 4.

Juice It Up!
This Veterans Day all veterans and active military will receive a free  20oz Classic Smoothie.

Kolache Factory
Enjoy one free kolache (any kind) and one cup of freshly brewed Katz coffee (any size). All veteran and active military with government-issued military photo ID or DD 214.

Kwikfill
November 11th veterans receive free coffee at Kwik Fill locations.

Lamar’s Donuts
Free donut and a 12oz coffee for all veterans and active military on Veterans Day.

Little Caesars Pizza
On Wednesday, November 11, from 11am to 2pm, veterans and active military members can receive a free Lunch Combo, which features four slices of Little Caesars popular Detroit-style DEEP!DEEP!™ Dish pizza, paired with a 20-ounce Pepsi product.

Logan’s Roadhouse
On Nov. 11, all active duty and retired U.S. military personnel are invited to enjoy a free meal from the American Roadhouse menu in honor of Veterans Day. This offer is available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at all Logan’s Roadhouse restaurants nationwide.

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
On Veterans Day (Nov. 11), active and former military can enjoy a complimentary dessert, and a 20% discount with proof of service. Veterans receive 20% off the entire month of November for ‘Military Family Month.’

Luna Grill
Luna is offering a “Buy One, Get One Free” deal from Wed., November 11 through Fri., November 13 to any active duty or veteran member of the armed forces at all locations.

Macaroni Grill
This Veterans Day, 11/11, all veterans and active military receive a free Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti with military ID.

Max & Erma’s
On Veterans Day, participating Max & Erma’s locations are celebrating veterans and active military personnel with a free cheeseburger, endless fries, fountain drink and a chocolate chip cookie.

McCormick & Schmick’s
Veterans of the Military, National Guard, Gold Star Parents and Gold Star Spouses can enjoy a half priced entrée off a select menu on Sunday, November 8, 2020.

Menchie’s Free Frozen Yogurt
On Veterans Day, all Veterans and military personnel with a military ID or proof of service will receive a free six ounce frozen yogurt any time of day on Veterans Day 11.11. Show a valid ID or be in uniform to receive.

Mission BBQ
Veterans and active duty will receive a free sandwich on Veterans Day, 11/11/20.

MOD Pizza
Sign to receive a buy-one get-one free MOD-size pizza or salad with military ID by November 8 and MOD will send you a coupon on November 9 to redeem on #VeteransDay.

Mountain Mike’s
Enjoy 15% off any large pizza this Veterans Day. (coupon code: 178130)

Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub
On 11/11 from 11am – 5pm, Veterans and active military can receive a free entrée from a special Veterans Day menu with the purchase of any other entrée. Dine-in only.

O’Charley’s
All active and retired military service members are invited to enjoy a free meal from O’Charley’s. Restaurant participation may vary by location. O’Charley’s also offers military discount of 10 percent off all year long.

Outback Steakhouse Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage
This Veterans Day all military veterans, active servicemen and women can enjoy a free Bloomin’ Onion and Coca-Cola on November 11th.

Perry’s Steakhouses
Free pork chop dinner to U.S. active military and veterans with the purchase of a dinner entree.

Petro Stopping Centers
All active duty military, veterans and reservists with proof of service can enjoy a complimentary meal from a select menu at any participating Country Pride or Iron Skillet restaurant nationwide.

Pie Five Pizza
On Veterans Day get a free personal pizza at participating locations. Dine-in only.

Pilot Flying J/U.S. Pilot
All active-duty and retired military veterans get a free breakfast including a coffee, Monday through Sunday, Nov. 9-15. The offer is available via the app.

Quaker Steak & Lube
All military veteran, active duty and reservist service members receive free or discounted meals  (up to $15) plus a free non-alcoholic beverage at participating locations on 11/11/20.

Rapid Fire Pizza
Veterans and active duty military get a free dessert pizza or Cheezy Bread with purchase of an entree on Veterans Day this Wednesday, November 11th.

Red Lobster
On Wednesday, November 11th to thank Veterans, active duty military and reservists, Red Lobster will offer a free appetizer or dessert from their select Veterans Day menu. To receive offer, show a valid military ID.

Red Robin
All Veterans and Active Duty Military get a free dine-in Red’s Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Steak Fries. For 2020, to reduce crowding, this offer is available Nov. 12 – Nov. 30.

Rock & Brews
Rock & Brews is offering all active duty military, veterans, and first responders a free pulled pork sandwich or strawberry fields salad on veterans Day at participating locations nationwide.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
All veterans can enjoy a free entrée from a select Veterans Day Menu.

Rodizio Grill
November 9-12, veterans eat free, with purchase of at least one Adult Full Rodizio meal. Must show Proof of Service to receive discount. Dates may vary by location.

Sagebrush Steakhouse
All veteran and active duty personnel receive a complimentary meal from a select menu. Offer valid from 11am-10pm.

Shane’s Rib Shack
Military personnel and Veterans will receive a free sandwich combo meal at participating Shane’s Rib Shack locations. Offer valid November 11th through November 13th.

Shari’s Café
Free slice of pie and buy one get one free entrée for all current and former military on Veterans Day, November 11th. Valid for dine in and take out only.

Shoney’s
Shoney’s says ‘Thank You’ to America’s heroes by offering a free All You Care To Eat breakfast, to all Veterans and Active Duty Military members on 11.11.20 from open – 11 am.

Smokey Bones
Free desserts on Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for active duty and retired military members.

Snarf’s Sandwiches
All active military & veterans receive a free 7” non-specialty sandwich. This in-store offer is only available 11/11/20.

Sonny’s BBQ
Veterans and active duty military with valid ID will receive a free Pulled or Sliced Pork sandwich plus a voucher for free BBQ Egg Rolls on a future visit.; Dine-in or takeout only.

Starbucks
Active duty service members, reservists, veterans and military spouses are invited to enjoy a free tall (12-ounce) hot brewed coffee.

Sticky Fingers Ribhouse
Wednesday, November 11 Veterans can enjoy a free pull pork sandwich and fries all day.

TA Stopping Centers
All active duty military, veterans and reservists with proof of service can enjoy a complimentary meal from a select menu that includes a beverage on Wed., Nov. 11, 2020, at any participating Country Pride or Iron Skillet restaurant nationwide.

Taco John’s
On Wednesday, Nov. 11, all active, reserve, retired and honorably discharged members of the U.S. military can get a free small Beef #1 Combo Meal who redeem the offer in the Taco John’s App.

Tap House Grill
On Veterans Day, all active, inactive and retired military personnel can get a free meal and a Sam Adams pint while supplies last.

TCBY
First 6oz are free for veterans and active military on 11-11-20.

Texas Roadhouse
is handing out vouchers for a free meal to all Veterans and Active Duty military from 11 am to 2 pm on Veterans Day. Vouchers will be distributed in the parking lots at Texas Roadhouse locations.

Torchy’s Tacos
On Nov. 11, veterans and active military can enjoy a complimentary taco and beverage from a select Veterans Day menu.

Twin Peaks
In honor of veterans Day, all veterans, active duty military and reservists can eat for free from a select menu on Wednesday, November 11th.

Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill
11/11/20 military members (past and present) can enjoy a free entree or individual pizza.

Wendy’s
Wendy’s nationwide are offering a free small breakfast combo with valid military ID. No purchase necessary.

Wienerschnitzel
On Veterans Day, 11/11, Wienerschnitzel is offering a free Chili Dog with a small fry and a small Pepsi to Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers. Bring your military ID or dress in a uniform.

Yard House
Veterans and active duty military will receive a complimentary appetizer on November 11 with valid military ID. Offer is valid for dine in only.

Ziggi’s Coffee
Veterans get a free 16 oz drink on November 11, 2020 at all Ziggi’s Coffee locations.

Apparel

buybuy BABY — Veterans, active-duty military and spouses get 25% off their entire purchase in-store and online, November 11 to 14.

Columbia Sportswear — Military personnel receive 20% off at all Columbia brand and outlet stores on November 11.

David’s Bridal — Active and retired military members and their immediate families (and fiancés) get an additional 10% off the entire in-store purchase from November 9 through 11. Not valid online.

Rack Room Shoes — Military personnel and their dependents get a 20% discount off the entire purchase on November 11.

Retail Discounts 

Army & Air Force Exchange Service — On November 11, MILITARY STAR card holders will receive various deals, including 10 cents off every gallon of fuel purchased at Exchange Expresses, double rewards points on online and in-store Exchange purchases, $10 off Exchange mall concession or kiosk purchases of $25 or more and 15% off food orders at participating Exchange restaurants. Beyond MILITARY STAR card-exclusive offers, Exchange Expresses and participating restaurants will be serving free coffee on November 11. Exchange Redbox video rental locations will also offer two movies for the price of one November 6 through 13.

Big Lots — In honor of Veterans Day, Big Lots announced they are offering a year-round 10% “Always On” discount for active military personnel and veterans who are members of the company’s Big Rewards program.

Kill Cliff

While Kill Cliff normally offers a 15 percent discount, on Veterans Day they’re extending it to 30 percent off for veterans. Many of their products purchased result in 100% of proceeds donated to specific military charities.  

Target — Active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families get a 10% military discount between November 1 and 11. After eligibility has been verified online, an exclusive, one-time use 10% Target Circle offer will be available to use in-store or online.  

Health and Fitness 

Academy Sports + Outdoors – Military receive 10% off their entire purchase through Nov. 11. This deal is available in stores and online. 

Haircuts

Great Clips – Retired and active service members can receive a free haircut or a card, which is redeemable through Dec. 11, for a free haircut. Nonmilitary customers who get their hair cut on Nov. 11 will also receive a card, redeemable for a free cut, to give to a service member.

Sport Clips – Some locations will offer free haircuts to veterans and active-duty service members and will donate $1 for every haircut provided that day to the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Help a Hero Scholarship fund.

Tech 

Office Depot/OfficeMax – Veterans, active-duty military, retirees, reservists and their dependents get 25% off eligible purchases in stores when they present valid military ID or military dependent ID. This offer runs Nov. 11 to Nov. 13. Some items are excluded, including gift cards, appliances, certain consumer electronics, certain brands and other restricted items.

Samsung – From Nov. 6 to Nov. 11, active-duty military members and veterans can register on Samsung’s site for special deals, including an extra 10% off smartphones, tablets, wearables, mobile accessories and PCs. 

Staples – Active-duty military personnel, reservists, retired or disabled veterans and their immediate families get a 25% discount November 8 through 14.

Mattresses 

Mattress Firm – From November 11 through 17, veterans and active-duty military members can take advantage of Mattress Firm’s Black Friday Sale and receive an additional 10% off their entire purchase, for total savings up to 60% off.

Sleep Number – Military members can verify their identity on Sleep Number’s site to get a promo code they can use for an extra $100 off smart beds and adjustable bases through Nov. 16.

Home Improvement

Home Depot — Home Depot offers a 10% discount to all veterans on November 11. Home Depot offers a 10% discount year round to active duty and retirees.

Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations

Pilot/Flying J  – From Nov. 9 to Nov. 15, Pilot and Flying J locations will offer veterans a free coffee (any size) and one free breakfast item. Redeem this offer through the Pilot Flying J app.

Publix – Veterans, active military members and their families can get 10% off groceries on Nov. 11. Some items are excluded, including tobacco, gift cards, alcohol and lottery tickets. You must present a valid military ID to get this offer.

Walgreens — Veterans, military and their families get a 20% discount on eligible regular priced items, November 11 through 15. This in-store offer is only valid in Walgreens or Duane Reade stores.

Travel and Recreation Discounts

9/11 Memorial and Museum — Veterans will receive free Museum admission as well as half-price tickets for three family members from November 7 to 18.

Akron Zoo — Veterans, past and current, receive free admission and immediate family members receive 50% off admission November 7 through 11 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Aquarium of the Pacific — Veterans and military personnel get free admission on November 11.

Arizona State Parks — Admission is free for veterans and active-duty military on November 11.

Army Corp of Engineers Recreation Areas — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will waive day use fees at its recreation areas nationwide November 11.

B&Bs for Vets — The innkeepers participating in the 2020 B&Bs for Vets program will offer a minimum of one room for one night and totally free. Most innkeepers will give their free rooms away on November 10, but offers vary.

Birmingham Zoo — Veterans, active and retired military and their dependents receive free admission from November 11 until 15.

Caesars Entertainment — Veterans and active-duty military who book future travel on Caesars.com from November 4 to 15 get up to 40% off.

Capital Wheel — On November 11, active and retired service members ride free. Accompanying family members are eligible for the military discount. Onsite only.

Cincinnati Zoo — All members of the military will receive free admission on November 11. The offer also allows military personnel to purchase up to six half-price admission tickets for members of their immediate family.

Colonial Williamsburg — Military families can receive a free admission ticket during Veterans Day weekend.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium — Military personnel, both past and present, and their immediate family get free admission on November 11 with military ID or proof of service.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum — On November 11, active-duty and retired armed services members get free admission (including up to three immediate family members), and a 10% discount at Circa: The Museum Store and the Hatch Show Print retail store. Advanced reservations are highly recommended.

Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) — Veterans and military personnel get free rides on November 11.

FantasyWorld Resort — Active-duty service members and veterans receive the Patriots Salute Package, which includes discounts on stays from November 1 through 30 (with a two-night minimum).

Hagley Museum and Library — Current military members, veterans, and their families get free admission on November 11. 

Harley-Davidson Museum — Active military, veterans and their families get free admission on November 11 and 12.

Jefferson Lines — Veterans and active military members get free tickets anytime between November 1 through 11. Free tickets are available for travel departing on November 11 through November 26 for both one-way and round-trip tickets. Veterans and active military members are welcome to return on a different date for round-trip tickets anytime through December 31.

La Quinta by Wyndham — Eligible military members get 12% off the Best Available Rate at participating La Quinta by Wyndham hotels. Plus, Wyndham Rewards members receive 500 bonus points for qualified stays booked by December 7 and completed by December 8, 2020.

Montgomery Zoo — Veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their dependent family members receive a 50% discount on regular daytime admission to the Montgomery Zoo and Mann Wildlife Learning Museum November 8 through 14.

Monticello — Veterans get complimentary admission November 11. Admission is for the Monticello Self-Guided Pass.

Montpelier — Veterans get a free “Highlights of Montpelier” tour and Museum Shop discount, November 7 and 8.

Mount Vernon — All active-duty, former, or retired military personnel are admitted for free on November 11.

Museum of East Tennessee History — Veterans, active-duty military, and their families get free admission on November 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

National Parks — On November 11, veterans will have access to over 100 National Parks that require entrance fees for free.

National WWI Museum and Memorial — Admission is free for veterans and active-duty military personnel November 7 through 15.

Pro Football Hall of Fame — Veterans and active military plus a guest get free museum admission and parking from November 1 through 15. A 20% off discount in the HOF Store will also be offered in November.

San Antonio Zoo — Active-duty, retired, veteran members of the military, National Guard and Reserves get free admission throughout November. Plus, up to four immediate family members can receive 50% off single day tickets on date of visit.

Sanderling Resort — Current and former military receive discounted rates of $129 per night from November 11, 2020 through March 19, 2021 with an additional 20% off all food, spa and retail.

Sedgwick County Zoo — All military personnel, veterans and their immediate families get complimentary admission on November 11.

Super 8 by Wyndham — Active and retired military members, veterans and their families can enjoy 15% off the Best Available Rate at participating Super 8 by Wyndham hotels. Plus, Wyndham Rewards members receive 500 bonus points for qualified stays booked by December 7 and completed by December 8, 2020.

True REST Float Spa — Veterans and active-duty military get a free 60-minute float on the 11th of every month, including November 11. For Veterans Day, True REST is also providing appointments to veterans only on November 11.

Woodland Park Zoo — Active, retired, and veteran military personnel and their spouses get free admission on November 11.

World of Coca-Cola — Active duty, reserves and retirees get free admission year-round, and from November 2 to 12 members of the Armed Forces may purchase up to four general admission tickets at half-price for their friends and family. Tickets must be purchased online.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts — Active and retired military members, veterans, and their families save up to 15%, plus receive 500 Wyndham Rewards bonus points for qualified stays booked by December 7 and completed by December 8, 2020.

Zoo Atlanta — Veterans, active-duty, retired and reserve members get free admission and $4 off general admission for up to six accompanying guests on November 11.

Automotive 

Delta Sonic Car Wash — Veterans and active-duty military save $25 on any oil change service throughout November.

Enterprise Car Sales — Active-duty military members, veterans and their dependents who purchase a used vehicle from Enterprise Car Sales are eligible to receive $300 off their vehicle purchase, November 1 through 30.

GM — GM offers special savings for the military November 3 through 30. Grace for Vets — Car washes from around the world who join this program offer free car washes to veterans and service members on November 11.

MIGHTY TRENDING

Why service animals are a perfect match for veterans

This article is sponsored by Nulo Pet Food.

The rigors of combat leave a lasting impact on many veterans who have proudly served. As painful as it is to admit, as a society, we’ve mostly left these troops to fend for themselves and find their own path in coping and healing.

No two roads to recovery are alike, but there’s one method that’s proven, time and time again, to be an effective way for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress to see through the haze — and that’s adopting a support animal.

Whether it’s an officially certified and properly trained service animal or just a pet that offers its unconditional love, it’s been proven that animals can get veterans through their struggles.


NULO – SAVED

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As many veterans who are accompanied by a support animal can tell you, a little nudge of love can make the biggest difference in the world. Such is the story of Andrew Einstein and his dog, Gunner.

The ultimate, big bad list of 2020 Veterans Day discounts and freebies

And the two have been inseparable ever since. ​

(Nulo)

When he was deployed in August, 2011, a grenade went off near Andrew. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost the hearing on his right side. The road to recovery was long, lonely, and painful. Without adequate support, Andrew went through dark times. He reached his lowest point less than ten months after the injury, and intended to end his own life.

Thankfully, he made it through the night. The very next day, he met Gunner. He wasn’t the biggest or the most energetic dog, but this little puppy didn’t want to leave Andrew’s side. Gunner chose to stick by Andrew, despite of all the hardships he’s endured.

The bond between the two grew with each passing day. Today, Andrew and Gunner participate together in various runs and obstacle courses across the country. Competition after competition, the pride Andrew has for Gunner, as he successfully navigates the various challenges, can only be described as the pride a parent has for a child.

“Service dogs allow people to live a life they otherwise wouldn’t be able to live because of whatever issue or disability they’re suffering from,” says Andrew. “It’s near impossible to do anything on your own and having a support system — whether it be one dog, a team of people, it doesn’t matter the number — if you don’t get help, you’re gonna get worse. But if you ask for help, you’ll get better. You’re still the same person, nothing changes, except your life getting better.”

Andrew found that support system in Gunner.

To learn more about Andrew and Gunner’s incredible journey — and to explore the amazing ways a service animal can impact lives — visit Nulo’s website.

This article is sponsored by Nulo Pet Food.

Articles

Taco Rice is what happens when Japanese and American tastes collide

Spoiler alert; it’s delicious!:


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American-style taco – shell + sushi rice = a dish to heal the wounds of WWII. (Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)

Kon’nichiwa, TACO RICE.

Meals Ready To Eat explored the advent of one of Japan’s most popular street foods when host August Dannehl traveled to Okinawa in search of taco rice, a true food fusion OG.

If you were to suggest that spiced taco meat dressed in shredded lettuce, cheese, and tomato, would seem a bastard topping to foist upon sushi rice, Japan’s most sacred and traditional foodstuff, well, in Okinawa at least, you’d find yourself on the receiving end of a lesson in local history.

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Distinguished inventor of taco rice, Matsuzu Gibo, c. 1983. (Meals Ready To Eat screenshot)

Taco Rice is the result of two post-WWII cultures: that of the Japanese and the American troops stationed in Okinawa, finding a way to transcend their differences through the combination of comforting foods.

An influx of American delicacies, most notably Spam, flooded the island following the cessation of hostilities and led to a heyday of culinary cross-pollination. Spam is still featured in many now-traditional Okinawan dishes, but taco rice is, for modern Okinawans and American military personnel, the belle of the mash-up Ball.

Watch more Meals Ready To Eat:

These military chefs will make you want to re-enlist

This veteran farmer will make you celebrate your meat

This is why soldiers belong in the kitchen

What happens when a firefighter’s secret identity is revealed

This Galley Girl will make you want to join the Coast Guard

Articles

This Disabled Veteran Describes His Scars Of War With Incredible Slam Poetry

Brian’s poem will give you perspective into how wide the civilian-military divide gap really is.


Related: Watch this Iraq War veteran’s tragic story told through the lens of a cartoon

On December 3, Brian’s mother posted a video of him reciting his poem on her Facebook wall. At the time of this writing, the video had been shared over 103,700 times. The video was intended to be shared with friends and family, but it had such a powerful effect that it was published to YouTube in order to mitigate comments to her Facebook account.

Brian delivers a powerful and sincere peek into his scars of war that were inspired by a grocery bagger’s clueless comments.

Clearly upset, he took to poetry to express his experience.

The video is very touching. Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-CE69jv5EY

melanie fay/Youtube

We’ve transcribed Brian’s poem in case you can’t play it out loud:
The other night at the store, check out line with my wife

the bagger asked a question that cut with a knife.

He saw my beanie and tried to make conversation

asked me if I was a member by service or donation.

I looked at him and smiled, I’m used to small talk questions

said that I became a member after serving my nation.

I went to Iraq and to Stan played around did some time in the sand

and he responded with that patented, “oh thanks for your service man.”

Nothing else needed to be said, conversation through

but then he stepped back and looked at me from beanie to shoe.

He asked the question, I swear this is true

he looked at me again and asked, “well what’s wrong with you.”

Taken back by his question I quickly spout an answer, “that’s a little personal man”

then you won’t believe his candor.

“I’m sorry man I didn’t mean to offend,

just looking you over it looks like you have all your limbs”

I walked out the store angry but why?

That was a volatile observation by a dumbass guy

how could he see the blood behind these eyes.

I should have marched back in there and asked if he wanted to see all the scars.

Hey these seem to interest you

take a seat guy you’re about to need a tissue.

See my scars I don’t wear them on the surface of my skin

like most veterans the deepest scars are within.

Sound of screams of brothers dying

tears roll down from mothers crying

bullets hail and fly overhead

watch a bullet leave your best friends head.

Or the hands that I took hold

watched as the grip grew colder

maybe you want to hear about that time I had to shoot a child

or that other time I had to drag my brother’s body a quarter mile

just because I knew he’d be defiled.

See what you fail to understand is that no veteran ever comes back that whole of a man.

Whether it be limbs are gone or internal scars

we all search for answers at the bottom of glasses in the darkest of bars.

Who are you to ask what is wrong with me

are you now the wounded warrior judge and jury?

One thing I want to remind you kids, I’m not mad

as a matter of fact, your dumbass question made me glad.

My invisible injury, I wear with pride

it doesn’t matter that you don’t know my friends who died.

it doesn’t matter that when I go home you don’t see

that I could barely remember what I had to eat.

I also have brain damage you see

been through one too many explosions that shook my head

while you lay quietly at home sleeping in your bed.

And cause of blast of me flying through the air,

oh you want to see where I bounce… everywhere.

But its okay boy stand up let me brush you off

I know it’s impossible for you to understand the cost.

I see that tear, here’s that tissue

maybe next time you’ll just leave it at thank you.

But I didn’t do that, I just let it be

I couldn’t let someone’s ignorance violate me.

Instead I said no problem, don’t worry about it man

It’s something that takes time to understand.

So next time you see a vet don’t think you need to vet him

don’t look for stories of injuries like we all openly display them.

Don’t ask sh–t like, “did you kill anyone”

we share that sh–t when we want, boy don’t be dumb.

Again, I can say blame that those that ain’t been taught

but I will say, “dammit ain’t about time we stop living underneath a rock.”

I’m an American veteran been to Iraq and to Stan

yes I am disabled, no you don’t need to shake my hand.

Yes I’m slightly crazy but who wouldn’t be

just want to let you know exactly why you thank me.

MIGHTY CULTURE

As a Marine in Afghanistan, I aspired to make my family’s legacy of heroes proud

My grandparents valued our nation’s history, and they did everything they could to ensure they passed down their knowledge and understanding of that history to the next generation. So, each summer from 5th Grade through my freshman year of high school, they took my cousins and I on road trips across the United States. Every trip ranged from two weeks to a month, traveling everywhere from the old Civil War battlefields in North Carolina to the cobblestone roads of River Street in Savannah, Georgia.


Even though we were just kids, we soaked up every bit of information we could about our nation’s convoluted and conflicted history. We learned to value our past, and the men and women who made our nation what it is today. For me, those trips laid a foundation I wouldn’t come to fully appreciate until years later … riding shotgun through Afghanistan.

My Grandfather was born in September 1939, too young for World War II or Korea, and too old for Vietnam by the time it came around. Grandpa was a model American though, at least as far as I was concerned. He worked a 30-year career with the phone company, raised three beautiful children, and married his high school sweetheart. He was eventually diagnosed with throat cancer; within a few years of diagnosis they removed all the cancer cells as well as his voice box.

But that didn’t stop him from doing what he thought was right.

Speaking with a mechanized voice box, he told his kids — including my mom — that he wanted to take the grandkids on a road trip to travel and explore our nation that summer. That led to many days and late nights in the passenger seat of my grandparents’ motorhome holding a Rand McNally road atlas while listening to my grandpa speak about his family’s legacy of military service with genuine admiration.

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Grandpa told us about his oldest brother — they called him C.F. — who was an Infantryman that stormed Normandy’s beaches on D-Day. His brother Byron drove a tank through Italy, France, and Germany before almost being sent to Okinawa after the war in Europe had ended.

Against all odds, they somehow stumbled across each other during the war. Bryon was sitting on his tank as C.F. walked by with his unit; they were shocked at the sight of each other and took a moment to shower each other with questions before saying their good-byes and good lucks. That story stayed with me for a long time.

And then there was grandpa’s brother-in-law, Curtis. He rode on horseback behind enemy lines to establish communication lines in France during the war.

My grandpa spoke briefly but highly of his father-in-law — my great-grandfather, saying he served in World War I as an artilleryman. He struggled with shell shock; we call that PTSD these days. He’s standing next to an artillery cannon in France in the only picture we have of him.

My mind was doused in imagination; these men … these giants were the igniter. I had known them as kind, old southern gentlemen my entire childhood; my grandfather’s stories forced me to re-envision them as gigantic, unstoppable figures who changed the course of the world. These men were my heroes.

I still cherish every moment we spent together on the road discussing how our robust nation came to fruition, how our 16th President is revered as one of the best Presidents given the circumstances, and how FDR handled one of the greatest conflicts the world has ever experienced. My grandfather spent the waning years of his life passing down this historical knowledge to my cousins and me, and for that he will always be my hero.

From a very young age, I understood that our nation and livelihood was only attainable and sustained because of men like my relatives. Whether it was the moment Japan bombed Pearl Harbor or when Wilson brought us into WW1, these men answered the call willingly and selflessly. They understood what needed to be done to keep our nation’s virtues safe and guarded.

I was born in 1989, so a world-changing event like Pearl Harbor wouldn’t come into my life until a fall morning in 2001. I was in my 7th grade social studies class. Our teacher frantically rolled in the television and turned on the news. We sat as a class and watched one of the two towers burn in front of our eyes. A second plane came into frame, flying directly into the second tower. The gasps and cries in the room that day have never left my mind.

After about thirty minutes, the principal came over the intercom and cancelled classes for the day. I rushed to my bicycle, unlocked it, and pedaled home as fast as I could while images of the second plane crashing into the building devoured my thoughts. The front door of my house didn’t stand a chance; I unlocked it faster than I unlocked my bike, turned on the news and didn’t leave the living room until my mother got home from work.

She asked me if I’d been watching the tragic news all day. “Of course,” I told her. “If whatever happens is still happening when I turn eighteen, then I’m going to go and fight.” It was 2001 and 18 (the minimum age to go to war) was so far off in the distance that my mother didn’t argue. She knew I had a passionate love for this nation and respected the military tradition that our nation, and our family had cultivated.

Time went by. Days became months, months became years, and 2001 became 2005. My grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the same time my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. On October 31, 2007, Julean Hatcher, my beloved grandmother who was the rock for all of us, passed away.

My life had not amounted to anything by that point. I wasn’t actively trying to pursue college … or anything to better myself for that matter. I finally held myself accountable for the oath I made to my mother as a 7th grader in 2001 and signed a contract with the Marine Corps. On Mother’s Day 2008, I left for Parris Island, South Carolina to begin my journey toward becoming a U.S. Marine.

Over the course of recruit training we were told numerous times we weren’t going to go anywhere, that we would go to Iraq if we were lucky. Would I follow in Grandpa’s footsteps and miss the war?

The war in Iraq was nearing its end (or so we thought), but what no one saw coming was President Obama taking office and ordering 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. That changed my life and the course of hundreds of thousands of lives. From my great-uncles to my great-grandfather, to every single man and woman that ever served this nation prior to this moment, I could feel our history was about to be written.

In January 2010, I was sent to Afghanistan as a combat replacement to Route Clearance Platoon 2. I spent the next four months operating in and out of Marjah, Afghanistan looking for and disposing of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

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Department of Defense

In April 2011, we deployed again to Helmand Province. But this time we were pushing into the now-infamous Sangin Valley, where we met heavy resistance. I spent so many days covered in a salt stained F.R.O.G. top wondering if my lineage would be proud of what we were doing, if they would be proud of the men and women who came after them to fight the good fight. I guess I’ll never truly know, but I’m confident they would be proud of every single one of us who raised our hands, recited that oath, and waved goodbye to family members as we loaded busses headed for war — just like they did.

I spent many days and late nights in the vehicle commander’s seat of a 4X4 MRAP truck building overlays on my map, marking the IED hits, SAF locations, and crater positions for hours on end. I sat there, navigating our platoon all throughout our area of operations, while reflecting on the times I spent with my grandfather learning about C.F. running through a curtain of steel while fighting his way up the Norman beaches. Thinking about Byron maneuvering his tank in just the right way to survive in the throes of battle. Imagining Curtis on horseback, evading the Nazis while setting up communications.

And my great-grandfather in France fighting against some of the worst evil the world had seen.

I couldn’t help but draw inspiration, motivation, and reasoning from my family’s history while fighting my generation’s war. They pushed me to excel and pursue becoming the type of American that might be somewhere … anywhere near the caliber of men they were.

I will always admire my grandfather for teaching me and captivating me with these stories of giant men and women who made a real impact on the world with their actions, all while leaving an impact that resonated to my core, shaped my thought process, and guided me to where I am today. We stand on the shoulders of giants, becoming giants for our children and their children to climb.

Articles

Kurds say two American mercenaries were killed in Syria

Two Americans were killed while fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a Kurdish militia announced.


According to a report by CBSNews.com, the Kurdish militia known as the YPG announced the deaths of Robert Grodt and Nicholas Warden during fighting near Raqqa, Syria. Their deaths bring the total of Americans killed fighting ISIS as volunteers to at least four.

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YPG fighters near Raqqa. (WATM file photo)

In a five-minute video released by the YPG on YouTube, Grodt, who adopted the nom de guerre “Dehmat Goldman,” told his story, explaining how he had been very sympathetic to the Kurds.

“I talked with my partner and my family, and I’m like, I’m gonna go out to Syria. This is something I care about,” he said in the video.

Warden, the other American confirmed killed in the fighting near the city ISIS claimed as its capital, had adopted the moniker Rodi Deysie and was an Army veteran.

“He was very strong-willed and very strong-minded and very much against ISIS and these terrorist groups,” his father Mark was quoted by CBSNews.com as saying. “He wanted to do whatever he could to get rid of them. He said not enough people are helping so he had to help.”

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A line of ISIS soldiers.

In a video released by the YPG, Warden said he volunteered to fight ISIS “because of the terrorist attacks they were doing in Orlando, in San Bernardino, in Nice (France), in Paris.”

The terrorist group may have been driven from Mosul, and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has reportedly been killed, but they are still capable of carrying out heinous attacks. CBSNews.com reported that the group used children as human shields for a car bomb factory near Raqqa, preventing Coalition forces from carrying out an air strike on the facility. Instead, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices are being attacked one at a time after they depart the production line.

MIGHTY TRENDING

The Army takes a staggering majority of traumatic brain injuries

The sheer magnitude of traumatic brain injury in the military is enough to make anyone’s head hurt. Troops can get TBI from any number of actions. Everything carries a TBI risk, from routine training to combat operations, so it’s no surprise the injury is getting more attention in recent years. The U.S. military has counted the number of TBI cases suffered by its troops since 2000, and the numbers are sadly very big.

More than 383,000 American troops have suffered some form of TBI, either in daily operations or in a theater of combat. What is most startling about the numbers isn’t just how many, it’s how many people in each branch suffered such injuries. Soldiers of the U.S. Army are far more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury.


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While the numbers of overall penetrating and severe TBI are thankfully relatively low, mild injuries make up a bulk of the cases, even when the injuries are broken down by branch. And while “moderate” TBI may not seem as dire as the word “moderate” sounds, those with moderate brain injuries can find themselves with reduced mobility, motor function, and unable to speak effectively. A recent video highlighting caretakers of TBI veterans by AARP Studios and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation highlights just how hard life can be for a victim of moderate TBI.

Unfortunately, moderate brain injuries are the second largest number of injuries suffered by U.S. troops. But the real tragedy is how many TBI sufferers are in the U.S. Army.

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Of the more than 383,000 troops that have suffered TBI since 2000, a staggering 225,144 of them have been in some component of the Army. Some 15.8 percent of that was National Guard troops, while 7.3 percent were Army Reserve. The rest, 76.9 percent, were active-duty troops. The numbers on what types of TBI mirror the numbers of all branches put together, with mild being the most widespread, followed by moderate, penetrating, and severe cases.

The rest of the branches hover between 52,000 and 54,000, the Marines have slightly more TBI reports, probably by nature of what they do. This data also reflects an update to the definitions of TBI, more information about the injuries, and subsequent reviews of existing Pentagon data.

MIGHTY TRENDING

VA releases new findings on the connection between TBI and dementia

VA and the Kristine Yaffe Lab at the University of California, San Francisco, have taken a new approach to understanding the association of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) — with and without loss of consciousness (LOC) — with dementia among veterans. Their recent study, one of the largest in the United States, included 178,779 veterans in the VA health care system who were diagnosed with various levels of TBI severity.

The study found that TBI with and without LOC are both associated with a heightened risk of developing dementia. Even mild TBI without LOC was associated with more than a twofold increase in the risk of a dementia diagnosis.

The study was part of the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC), a federally funded research project devised to address the long-term effects of mild TBI in military service members and veterans. CENC is jointly funded by VA and the Department of Defense.


TBI overview

TBI is a complex physiological condition that can arise when a brain experiences trauma, either directly or indirectly, during any of a variety of moderate to catastrophic events. TBI has been researched and studied in-depth by some of the world’s leading neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuropsychiatrists and other leading mental health experts. Their goal is to develop treatments, tools and resources to help those affected by TBI return to their previous, or close to their previous, quality of life and cognitive ability. TBI among veterans is a key focus area of VA physical and mental health care, and VA conducts research every day to help unravel the intricacies of TBI’s symptoms and effects.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit)

In the past 10 years, researchers and clinicians have confirmed that TBI may be a risk factor for dementia, but they have yet to determine why. Some professionals think dementia may be related to the injury itself, while others believe that head trauma may cause toxic and abnormal proteins associated with dementia to build up over time.

Advice for veterans experiencing symptoms of TBI

Evaluation by a physician is critical to help identify and address symptoms of TBI. TBI can be difficult to diagnose because it has many causes, such as motor vehicle collisions, sports-related injuries and falls. Among veterans, TBI may be caused by a single event, such as an IED blast, but also may occur over time as a result of repetitive jolts to the head or neck. If you have had a recent head injury, or if you had a head injury in the past and are concerned about recent changes in your memory, consult your physician for a screening.

During a TBI evaluation, you and your doctor will discuss what caused your injury and ways to deal with any physical, cognitive and behavioral symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and headaches. You also will explore how these symptoms affect your daily life. Your doctor may recommend counseling to help you learn ways to manage the effects of TBI. Because a TBI can affect the way the brain functions, medications may be needed or changed to assist in recovery and coping.

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To learn more about TBI symptoms and treatment for veterans, visit VA’s mental health page on TBI or go to MakeTheConnection.net, which features videos of veterans talking about their experience with TBI.

Understanding dementia risk factors

Although there is a slightly elevated risk for dementia among those who have experienced TBI, that does not mean everyone with TBI is at risk. TBI is only one of many risk factors for dementia, including genetic markers, that are being studied. No matter what risk factors you may have, it’s important to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, monitor your heart health and try to remain mentally and physically active.

The future of TBI and dementia research

The VA health care system recognizes that more research is needed to further understand and provide the best health care to veterans with TBI. This study suggests that veterans with TBI — in particular, older veterans — should be monitored and screened at regular intervals for any signs of memory changes. Research collaboration among VA, universities and national organizations such as the National Institutes of Health will continue to expand our knowledge of TBI and related conditions and opportunities to prevent and treat them.

About the VISN 21 MIRECC

VA’s VISN 21 MIRECC is committed to improving the clinical care of veterans with dementia and with post-traumatic stress disorder through the development of innovative clinical, research and educational programs. This center’s approach is to identify risk factors for cognitive decline in older veterans and to develop and implement novel countermeasures to minimize this decline.

For more information on VISN 21, visit www.mirecc.va.gov/mirecc/visn21.

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY HISTORY

Veterans are writing eulogies to ‘the buddy they’ll never forget’

Few things in this world are stronger than the bonds forged by troops who fought together in combat. Those who survive life-threatening ordeals on the battlefield become closer in ways that others may never understand. When one of them loses their closest friend, it’s a tragedy that hurts forever.

What could be a more fitting for the coming Memorial Day than to write about what that friend means to you?


This memorial day, AARP is collecting stories about the friendships forged in war. Close friendships forged on the front lines of Vietnam and in the Nazi POW camps of World War II all the way to the remote combat outposts of Iraq. Veterans are writing stories of the best friends they met during these trying times. Two crewman stationed aboard the ill-fated USS Indianapolis, Marines fighting in the frozen wastes around the Chosin Reservoir, a young lieutenant and his radioman in the jungles of Vietnam.

Some survived the war. Many did not. What they have in common is that they’ll never be forgotten. Corporal Charles Thomas was that buddy for Lt. Karl Marlantes.

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Marlantes in Vietnam after an eye injury.
(Courtesy of Karl Marlantes)

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Marlantes is the author of two books, What It Is Like to Go to War and the critically-acclaimed Matterhorn.

Marlantes was a newly-christened Marine in Vietnam when Thomas was assigned to be his radioman. Like any good young officer, Marlantes listened to his more experienced corporal when he made suggestions. The young man even saved his lieutenant’s life on a mission in the mountains near the DMZ. Marlantes told AARP The Magazine:

“In early December 1968, we were on a long mission, high in the mountains, and it was monsoon time. We couldn’t get resupplied and were without food for three or four days. It was also cold, but we had no extra clothes, just the stuff rotting on us. One night I got hypothermic, really hypothermic. I couldn’t think and started shivering. Everybody knew hypothermia kills you. And Thomas just laid me on the ground and wrapped a quilted poncho liner around us and hugged me. And then his body heat got me back. Saved my life.”

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Marlantes receiving the Navy Cross.
(Courtesy of Karl Marlantes)

Corporal Thomas was an outstanding Marine in combat and a talented radioman. Sadly, during an assault on an NVA position in 1969, Marlantes had to send Cpl. Thomas around the hill to set up an ambush. Following his orders, Thomas left the safety of his cover and made a dash for the objective with his squad. That’s when three rocket-propelled grenades struck, killing him and one other. Marlantes, now 73, recalled the moments afterward for AARP:

“I had to go through all the guys’ bodies to pull out, if you can believe this, anything like pictures of naked girls, so their parents wouldn’t be upset — it’s bad enough that their kid comes home in a body bag. And I pulled a letter out of Thomas’ pocket from his mother and remember it said, “Don’t you worry, Butch.” We knew each other only by last names and nicknames. I never knew he was Butch, that his mother called him that. “Don’t you worry, Butch, you’ll be home in just 11 more days.”

Watch Karl Marlantes look back and tell the story of Cpl. Charles Thomas.

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Special Forces soldier killed in Afghanistan — Updated

UPDATE: The Pentagon has identified the Special Forces soldier killed in a shootout April 8 in Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, of Edgewood, Maryland. De Alencar was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.


A U.S. soldier was killed Saturday in Afghanistan while carrying out operations against the Islamic State group, a U.S. official said.

U.S. Navy Captain Bill Salvin, a spokesman for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, said the soldier was killed late April 8 during an operation against ISIS-Khorasan in Nangarhar province. ISIS-Khorasan is a branch of Islamic State active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other parts of South Asia.

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Soldiers from The Old Guard fold the American flag over the casket of a fallen soldier. (U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Luisito Brooks)

Reuters reported that the soldier was a member of the Special Forces.

Nangahar is a stronghold of militant activity in Afghanistan. American forces have conducted a number of airstrikes on the area. That activity, combined with the efforts of Afghan ground forces, has pushed the militants out of some of their previous territory.

The militants also oppose the Taliban, who have long struggled to regain control of parts of Afghanistan.

The area was once a big producer of opium poppies, but since their cultivation was nearly wiped out in the mid-2000s, the area’s farmers have faced deep poverty and debt.

This was the first U.S. military combat death in Afghanistan in 2017. The number of U.S. combat deaths has dropped sharply since U.S. troops stopped leading combat operations in 2014.

MIGHTY CULTURE

Mighty Heroes: Meet volunteer disaster response organization founder, Ray Guasp

A Marine Corps veteran, Ray Guasp is no stranger to serving others. He founded Veterans Response, a nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization made up of former military personnel and first responders. He is emblematic of the military veteran who continues to serve his country after leaving the service, as highlighted in the #StillServing campaign launched this year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

#StillServing aims to bring attention to and honor the continued commitment and sacrifice of America’s veterans. In fact, The Corporation for National & Community Service’s 2018 Volunteering in America Report shows that veterans volunteer 25 percent more time, are 17 percent more likely to make a monetary donation and are 30 percent more likely to participate in local organizations than the civilian population.


“All those skills I learned in the military transfer right over to disaster response,” Guasp said. “Veterans Response gives me and other veterans and first responders an environment that we are accustomed to — mission-forward, mission-centric, focused and disciplined.”

Ray’s story began at age 18 when he joined the United States Marine Corps and served in Operation Desert Storm. He took those problem solving and leadership skills and founded Veterans Response, with the mission to deliver timely and appropriate emergency services to disaster-stricken communities. A Veterans Response team deploys into communities suffering catastrophic events helping to meet immediate and longer-term needs, everything from water and temporary shelter to rebuilding homes and communities.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria were both Category 5 storms that struck within two weeks of each other in the fall of 2017, devastating the Caribbean and parts of Florida. Within a week of forming Veterans Response, the organization raised ,000 and purchased and installed a water filtration system in Puerto Rico. Using any source of freshwater, contaminated or not, the system can produce 250 gallons of clean water per hour. Veterans Response also provided residents with reusable water bottles to use with the system and worked with residents to monitor and maintain the system when the organization’s team is no longer on site.

The next phase of Guasp’s plan for Puerto Rico is to focus on providing stricken communities with mental health services; services he realizes were needed after his own experiences in Desert Storm.

“Those memories live with you forever,”Guasp said. “Our goal for Puerto Rico is to enable the treatment of some of the pain that its residents have gone through in the last several years.”

Currently, Veterans Response is focusing on a new disaster, one close to home. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in early March, the group has been working around the clock shopping for food to donate to food banks, stocking food bank shelves and assembling packages of donated items to distribute to those in need. To date, Veterans Response has provided food banks around Guasp’s hometown in Connecticut with more than 550 pounds of food.

“Normally we respond to disasters but in this case, this is a crisis and we decided to take up arms and be part of the solution,” said Pablo Soto, an Army veteran and member of Veterans Response.

“We’re trying to do our part to try to help at least put food on somebody’s table,” Guasp said. “So they can have some type of normal in their household.”

When not volunteering with Veterans Response, Guasp is a partner and co-founder of a medical device sales company (Attero Surgical), a volunteer fireman and a firearms instructor. Because of his continued service, VFW has chosen Guasp to serve as a spokesperson for its national #StillServing campaign.

The VFW encourages all veterans to share stories on social media using #StillServing to show how they continue to answer the call to serve in ways big and small. In addition, family or friends are asked to use #StillServing in social media posts to honor a veteran in their lives who believes the spirit of service transcends military life.

“Service creates a balance in our life,” Guasp added. “It allows us to still be a part of that world and the brotherhood that we enjoyed. It is critical for veterans to share this message and show that veterans are not an obscure population. We are making real changes in our communities every day.”

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This WWII Navy vet finally received his service medals after 71 years

A U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Pacific during World War II finally received his service medals April 12 at the American Legion in Fort Smith, Arkansas — 71 years to the day from when he honorably discharged.


James Donald Neal Burnett, 91, of Alma was presented several medals, including the World War II Victory Medal, by U.S. Sen. John Boozman.

The senator called Burnett among the “greatest generation” and thanked him for his service.

“It’s a real honor to pat Mr. Burnett on the back and thank him for his service,” Boozman said before a large group of veterans gathered at the American Legion Ellig-Stoufer Post 31. “We do want to thank this special generation that went off and did incredible things, ordinary people who did extraordinary things, came back and just went back to work. They not only rebuilt our country but provided the protection for Europe and much of the rest of the world so they can rebuild. We forget about this sometimes.”

The veterans were there to have a closed-door discussion about their issues with the Veterans Choice health-care program. Boozman is a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and is hosting a series of listening sessions with Arkansas veterans. Boozman also had listening sessions two other local cities.

Before presenting the medals, Boozman also thanked the veteran’s wife, Imogene Burnett, and their family because “being in the service regardless of how long…is a family affair and we always want to remember the families that sacrificed.”

One of the Burnetts’ sons, James Alan Burnett, gave the ultimate sacrifice in 2002 on the Kate’s Basin fire in Wyoming. He was the first Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Forestry Services employee to lose his life fighting a fire.

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The Purple Heart is one of many medals that veterans have waited decades to receive.

Kathy Watson, constituent services manager for Boozman’s office, said many World War II veterans did not receive medals simply because they went home after the war and did not apply for them. Boozman said his father, a B-17 waist gunner during WWII, also didn’t talk much about the war, and when asked to talk about his experiences would usually only offer a short description: “It was cold.”

James and Imogene Burnett’s son, Bob Burnett, said his father was among those who simply came home after the war and did not request the medals. A relative, state Rep. Rebecca Petty, District 93, “got the ball rolling” on Burnett’s medals after a family visit last year, Bob Burnett said.

In the recent 91st General Assembly, Petty entered House Resolution 1039 to honor Burnett for his service from 1943-1946 as a motor machinist’s mate third class on the USS Oak Hill LSD 7. He entered the Navy a few months after his 18th birthday, Nov. 11, 1943.

Anita Deason, Boozman’s senior military and veterans liaison, read a commendation letter in Burnett’s file for the ship’s crew from Capt. C.A. Peterson, dated June 14, 1945: “At Okinawa, Oak Hill participated in one of the largest and most important amphibious assaults in the history of warfare. Then for a period of 71 days, this vessel shared in the hazards of supporting armed forces on that island, often under continuous attacks by enemy planes. One suicide plane apparently aimed for this ship was splashed by the fire of our gun crews. By the cheerful cooperation of all hands, every mission assigned this ship was successfully carried out.”

Also read: WWII veteran receives long overdue Purple Heart

The letter goes on to say that “outstanding” work was done in particularly by the repair force in the task of maintaining landing ships and craft in operation condition.

“Higher authority at first considered this job beyond the capacity of this ship, but by efficient administration and hard work it was done and earned high praise for the task force commander,” Peterson wrote.

“As often happens, service members do not receive all of their medals when they are released from the military, and so we’re going to try and make up for that today,” Deason said.

Burnett, who was born Aug. 31, 1925, at Clayton, Okla., served two years, four months and 25 days in the Navy. He was honorably discharged, coincidentally, on April 12, 1946.

In addition to the WW II Victory Medal, the National Personnel Record Center also authorized Burnett to receive the Combat Action Ribbon, China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Honorable Discharge Button, and Honorable Discharge Lapel Pin.

Burnett is also eligible for the Philippine Liberation Ribbon, a foreign award that is not funded by the Department of Defense.

MIGHTY CULTURE

5 reasons to participate in Giving Tuesday Military

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is widely known as “Giving Tuesday.” Nonprofits compete for your donations and your social media feeds are filled with fundraisers. But this year, three military spouses are asking you to give only one thing: kindness.


Started by three Armed Forces Insurance Spouses of the Year, the Giving Tuesday Military movement hopes to showcase one million acts of kindness on Dec. 3, 2019. With 56 “Chapter Ambassadors” around the world, the three founders — Army Spouse Maria Reed, National Guard Spouse Samantha Gomolka and Coast Guard Spouse Jessica Manfre — are hoping to change the world through simple acts of kindness.

Here are 5 reasons to participate in this year’s Giving Tuesday Military:

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Volunteers beautify Fort Carson.

DVIDS

Science says it’s good for everyone — you included

We’re going to give you the super obvious reasons like “it’s the right thing to do” and “kindness is fun!” in a hot minute. First, we’ll start with science. “Studies have proven that not only will you change lives by being kind,” Manfre said, “but that brain scans reveal the person doing the giving is flooded with happy hormones. Moral of the story, kindness lifts you too!”

Don’t believe Manfre? How about Dartmouth? “Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’ which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re anxious or shy in a social situation.”

Kindness is the great uniter

Can’t get through a phone call with your mom without getting into it about politics? Ready to light your neighbor’s yard signs on fire? Somehow find yourself debating the 2nd Amendment in line at the Commissary? Here’s one thing we can finally all agree on: Kindness.

Gomolka said, “Kindness breaks down the walls that appear to divide us as a nation. It heals wounds and forges relationships. Kindness does not favor a race, religion, political party or economic status. It is literally a language of love that connects us at the core of everything that is human.”

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The Single Marine Program at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point encourages service members to volunteer in the surrounding communities.

DVIDS

You set an example

Those little people that seemingly follow you everywhere and are always wanting snacks and typically refer to you as “mom” or “dad” take their cues from you. Teaching them about kindness is one thing. Showing them an act of it, or better yet, involving them is another. Raise a generation of kids who are tolerant and kind, you know, just like their badass parents.

Can you say FOMO?

A million acts is a lot. Which also means you’ll be on the wrong side of history if you don’t participate. Whether you do it for the Facebook post (for real: be sure to tag #GivingTuesdayMilitary) or all the right reasons (serving others, being a role model, because you have a soul, etc.), don’t miss out on the movement.

Reed said, “Many military spouses in remote locations have reached out sharing that this movement is giving them an opportunity to be a part of community and have a sense of belonging. Giving Tuesday works both ways, for the recipient and the giver.”

Be the change!

Not sure that Dr. Seuss knew what he was doing with the whole green eggs and ham thing, but he was definitely right about this: “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

Never underestimate the power of one small act of kindness. It might change a life… or even save one. We’ll throw another quote at you (thanks, Gandhi): “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”

No matter what reason you have for joining the movement, we know you don’t have a good one not to do it. We’ll see you on Giving Tuesday.
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