The land of the free and the home of the brave.
That’s the backdrop for this Veterans Day on Friday, paying tribute to all military personnel who have served their nation honorably. While the annual Nov. 11 holiday will have its share of ceremonies and special moments across the U.S., it also is a time for businesses to show their appreciation as well with a simple token such as a free meal item or discount.
Many Columbus-area restaurants and some retailers are participating once again this year. Here is a lineup thus far of those saying thanks, along with the deal they are offering. Naturally, this holiday has special prominence locally due to Fort Benning and its soldiers and families, as well as a large population of military retirees and veterans in the area. Military identification of some sort, including a DD 214 discharge form, may be required to receive the offer.
Note that the National Park Service also will be offering free admission to its parks nationwide on Friday, although active-duty military people and dependents are eligible for a free annual pass to the system’s 2,000-plus national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and recreational areas. Disabled veterans also are eligible for a free lifetime annual pass.
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▪ Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar — Free meal from special menu
▪ Bed Bath & Beyond — 20 percent off entire purchase Thursday through Sunday
▪ Bonefish Grill — Free order of Bang Bang Shrimp
▪ Carmike Cinemas — Free small popcorn
▪ Carrabba’s — Free appetizer from Nov. 7-13
▪ Chicken Salad Chick — Free Original Chick meal, which includes one sandwich or scoop of chicken salad, one side, a pickle spear, cookie and drink
▪ Chili’s Grill & Bar — Free entree from special menu
▪ Chipotle Mexican Grill — Buy one burrito, bowl, salad or tacos order, get one free 3 p.m. to close
▪ Chuck E. Cheese — Free personal pizza
▪ Cracker Barrel — Free double chocolate fudge Coca-Cola dessert
▪ Dairy Queen — Free medium Blizzard (Whittlesey Blvd. location)
▪ Denny’s — Free “build your own Grand Slam” from 5 a.m. to noon
▪ fred’s Pharmacy — 15 percent discount on purchases
▪ Golden Corral — Free meal on Nov. 14 from 5 to 9 p.m.
▪ Great Clips — Free haircut or haircut card to use by Dec. 31
▪ Home Depot — 10 percent discount on purchases
▪ Hooters — Free meal that includes wings, burgers and chicken sandwich or salad
▪ Houlihan’s (Doubletree Columbus) — Free entree up to $15 with purchase of another entree
▪ IHOP — Free buttermilk pancakes with glazed strawberries, blueberry compote and whipped topping from 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
▪ Longhorn Steakhouse — Free appetizer or dessert plus 10 percent off whole table
▪ Lowe’s — 10 percent discount on purchase
▪ O’Charley’s — Free meal
▪ Olive Garden — Free meal from a special menu
▪ Outback Steakhouse — Free Bloomin’ Onion appetizer
▪ Moe’s Southwest Grill — 10 percent discount every day with military ID
▪ Red Lobster — Free appetizer or dessert from a special menu
▪ Red Robin — Free Red’s Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Steak Fries
▪ Ruby Tuesday — Free appetizer up to $10 value
▪ Texas Roadhouse — Free lunch from special menu, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
▪ Willy’s Mexicana Grill — 20 percent discount every Monday
▪ Zoe’s Kitchen — Free meal