It’s a job I know I couldn’t handle. Being away from my kids, spouse, family. Missing holidays and special occasions. Listening to them hold back tears over the phone. The long days of training, preparing yourself to step inside a warzone. Standing or walking for hours in blistering temperatures and remaining focused on the job at hand. Knowing that any slip could be your life, or worse, the loss of a brother. Mustering courage every waking hour, and then laying down at night with your weapon close at hand and still managing to relax enough to rest your body and mind. Knowing you have innocent lives and freedom resting on your shoulders. Coming home from a mission and turning it off to be present with your family. Reassuring yourself that loud noise was a firework. Trying to push gruesome images from your mind. Having to just “let it all go,” and then doing it all over again. All this and yet still having the presence of mind to make the ultimate sacrifice and lay your life down so others can live. Dying without your most precious loved ones by your side, in a strange place, by an act of violence, hatred, evil. All this you volunteered to do.
I have no words to express my adulation of you. Understand that when you walk by and all I manage to say is , “Thank you”, it’s coming from the very depths of a mother’s heart. A woman who teaches her kids that YOU are the greatest superhero that EVER lived. A citizen who may not know your story, but knows you signed the dotted line that I could not. Thank you, soldier. Thank you, veteran. Thank you, hero. — Mandi Monroe
And thank you, Dad.
Here’s a list of freebies and discounts available for our Veterans:
Applebee’s invites veterans and active-duty military to have a free entree from a special menu Saturday with proof of military service.
Black Bear Diner is offering free breakfast or dinner from a select menu both Friday and Saturday to all veterans with proof of military service.
‘Bout Time Pub and Grub is offering a free $6 burger and fries to veterans and active military members all day Saturday.
California Pizza Kitchen is offering a free entree from a select menu Saturday to those who are in uniform, have a military ID or other proof of service.
Chili’s is offering a free meal from a special menu on Saturday to all veterans and active duty military members.
Cracker Barrel is giving a complimentary double-chocolate fudge Coca-Cola cake to veterans Saturday.
Denny’s is letting active, nonactive and retired military build their own Grand Slam from 5 a.m. to noon Saturday. Guests should bring a valid military ID.
Famous Dave’s is thanking former and active military personnel Saturday with a free Two-Meat Salute Platter that includes one side and cornbread.
Golden Corral is hosting a free “thank you” dinner for veterans and current military personnel on Monday, Nov. 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
IHOP is offering free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday to current and former military personnel. Proof of service is required.
Krispy Kreme is offering a free donut of any variety and a small coffee to all veterans and active-duty military personnel Saturday at participating locations.
Little Caesars is giving free pizza or $5 Hot-N-Ready lunch combos at 50 different locations to customers who come in uniform or who have a military ID on Friday.
Longhorn Steakhouse is offering a free appetizer or dessert to anyone showing proof of military service. LongHorn Steakhouse will also offer 10 percent off for guests that dine with veterans on Nov. 11.
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt is offering all veterans and active-duty military personnel a free 6-ounce frozen yogurt.
Mimi’s Cafe is honoring all veterans, reserve and active duty military personnel by serving them one free entrée from the Veteran’s Special Menu with the purchase of a beverage.
Olive Garden is offering a free dine-in entree from a select menu to veterans and active-duty military members Saturday.
Outback Steakhouse is honoring heroes with a free Bloomin’ Onion and non-alcoholic beverage on Saturday. Military personnel with an ID card or other proof of service can receive 20 percent off their entire check from Nov. 12 through Nov. 16 at participating locations.
Perkins Restaurant and Bakery is thanking veterans and active military with a free Magnificent Seven meal with presentation of military ID or proof of service Saturday.
Pizza Pie Cafe is giving free meals Saturday to veterans and active-duty service members with ID.
Red Lobster is thanking veterans and active-duty military and reservists for their service with a no-purchase-necessary free appetizer and dessert offer valid from Thursday and Friday. A military ID or other proof of service is required.
Red Robin is offering a free appetizer or dessert to veterans and active-duty personnel Saturday.
Rodizio Grill is saluting veterans by offering a free full Rodizio meal with the purchase of another adult full Rodizio meal. The deal runs all week until Saturday at participating locations.
Sizzler is offering one free lunch and beverage for all active duty or retired military personnel on Saturday before 4 p.m.
Starbucks locations will offer a free tall, brewed coffee to veterans, active-duty service members and military spouses Saturday. Starbucks will also donate $5 to veterans’ organizations for every Veterans Day Starbucks card purchased through Nov. 15. Starbucks employees can also donate their weekly coffee bag benefit to troops serving overseas through Nov. 15.
Texas Roadhouse is saying “thank you” to active, former and retired military with a free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m at participating locations on Saturday. Proof of military service is required.
T.G.I. Friday’s is offering free lunch from a special menu to veterans and active military from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Tucanos is offering current and past servicemen and women a free lunch or dinner with the purchase of another meal Thursday through Saturday. Veterans who come by themselves can receive a half-priced meal. Proof of service required.
Village Inn is saluting veterans and current military personnel with a free breakfast Saturday. Those with a military ID or proof of service can choose from three buttermilk pancakes, a Belgian waffle or three slices of French toast.
Wingstop is offering one free six-piece Boneless Wings combo for all veterans, active duty and reserve military service members on Saturday.
Bed Bath and Beyond is offering 25 percent off entire in-store purchases made Thursday through Sunday by active-duty or retired military personnel and military spouses who have military ID.
Cost Plus World Market is offering 25 percent off entire in-store purchases made Thursday through Sunday by active-duty or retired military personnel and military spouses who have military ID.
Lowe’s is offering a 10 percent discount to those who are currently serving in the armed services and those who are retired, in addition to their immediate family members on Saturday. A valid military ID or proof of service is required.
Overstock.com is offering free Club O memberships to all active, former and retired military members. The membership includes year-round free shipping and rewards.
Hogle Zoo is saying “thank you” by offering free admission Saturday to all military personnel and veterans with military ID, as well as their spouses and children. The zoo also welcomes the families of fallen soldiers.
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is offering free admission to veterans and their immediate families Saturday.
National Parks are free for everyone Saturday and Sunday.
Red Rocks Film Festival is offering free screenings to veterans and their spouses on Sunday.
Fabulous Freddy’s is offering veterans and active military personnel a free ultra-exterior car wash on Friday.
Snap Shop Photo in Roy and West Valley City are offering a free portrait and 8×12 print for veterans on Friday and Saturday.
Futura Car Wash in Layton is offering free car washes and beverages to veterans and active duty personnel from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Great Clips is giving veterans who visit Great Clips on Saturday either a free haircut that day or a free haircut coupon to redeem by Dec. 31. Non-military customers can purchase a service at Great Clips on the same day and get a free haircut card to give to a veteran.
Jiffy Lube is offering active and retired military free Signature Service oil changes Saturday.
LinkedIn offers U.S. service members and veterans a free 1-year Premium Career subscription with access to LinkedIn Learning
Supersonic Car Wash is offering a free Exterior Plus car wash to any current or retired member of the armed forces Saturday.
Sports Clips locations across the country will host the company’s annual Veterans Day haircut event through Saturday. Sports Clips will donate $1 per haircut to support the “Help a Hero” scholarship programs for service members and veterans.
UFC Gym is offering a free three-day, full-access pass from Nov. 11 until Nov. 13 for active duty military and veterans, as well as their families.