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Thanking You for Your Service

Shoshana Bryen

A few years ago, when I was writing with a different hat, the Band of Brothers USMC Motorcycle Riding Club provided me with a list of companies providing free and discounted services to American military veterans in honor of Veteran’s Day.  I wrote at the time:

  • Veterans Day is about remembering the sacrifices of our soldiers in today’s wars and in wars past. There are military parades and somber reflections, speeches and flags. And for those who commemorate 11-11 as Armistice Day, there is an even more somber twinge as “the war to end all wars” turned out to be only a precursor of bigger and more horrible wars. But in an interesting twist on the very American habit of using Federal holidays for shopping, businesses have taken to offering discounts and gifts to service personnel as a Veterans Day “thank you.” A single instance may sound a little silly – a free donut from Krispy Kreme – but in the aggregate, they form a uniquely American picture of a country that appreciates the service of our troops.

That column was a huge hit, not so much because veterans didn’t know what was available to them – they did – but because shopping is voting with your dollars.  All the rest of the year people wanted to thank those companies that thank our veterans.  A perpetual loop of appreciation, if you will, but not a closed loop; there are new companies every year.  So here’s a slice of 2013:

Bed, Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, Christmas Tree Shops, Big Lots, Walgreens, Cabela’s, and Dollar General, Great Clips and Sport Clips, Best Buy Baby, Harmon Face Values, and Lowes.  Red Roof Inns and a whole raft of B&Bs and Inns through “Better Way to Stay,” thank vets.

Wendys’, 7-Eleven, Applebees, Baker’s Square, Bar Louie, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, California Pizza Kitchen, Carrabba’s, Champp’s Americana, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Chevy’s Fresh Mex, Chili’s, Claim Jumper, Coco’s Bakery and Restaurant, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Friendly’s, Great American Cookies, Greene Turtle, Hy-Vee, Krispy Kreme, Little Caesars Pizza, Longhorn Steakhouse, Starbucks, Fire & Ice, Max and Erma’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, Olive Garden, On the Border, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Shoney’s, Subway, Spaghetti Warehouse, Texas Corral, TGI Friday’s, Tony Roma’s, and Uno’s.  Many more – and lots of local places as well – say “thank you” as well.

So do the National parks, forests and monuments, Knott’s Berry Farm, Colonial Williamsburg, the San Jacinto Museum of History, Historic Jamestown, Battleship Cove, Vicksburg National Military Park, Birmingham Museum of Art, Vulcan Park and Museum (Birmingham, AL), the New Zoo (Green Bay, WI), the Central Florida Zoo, the Strategic Air & Space Museum (Ashland, NE), and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK).

And there are military discounts available all year (with military ID if you ask) at Arbys, A&W, Back Yard Burgers, Burger King, Captain D’s, Chick-Fil-A, Cotton Patch, Denny’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Farmers Boy, IHOP, Java Café, KFC, Long John Silver, Pancho’s Mexican Buffet, Pizza Hut, Quizno’s, Sizzler, Sonic, Taco Bell and Whataburger.

So, when you do your shopping, consider the companies that have made a commitment to our servicemen and women.

And take an extra moment today to consider the courage and sacrifices of our veterans – fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters – who gave us the glorious country in which we live, work, eat, vote and shop.