10 Ways To Honor Veterans

If you can’t make it to a Veterans Day parade or ceremony, there are other ways to show your appreciation for the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Here are a few suggestions you can practice year-round:

A bonus suggestion: if you live with a veteran like I do, hug them and make their favorite meal for dinner. Or visit this Military Avenue link 101 Ways to Thank a Veteran for more inspiration.

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Retired Admiral Kicks-Off USF Veterans Week

U.S. Department of State spokesperson John Kirby, who retired as a Rear Admiral in May 2015. Photo courtesy U.S. State Department.

U.S. Department of State spokesperson John Kirby, who retired as a Rear Admiral in May 2015. Photo courtesy U.S. State Department.

Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby is featured at two free, public events today at the University of South Florida Tampa Campus.

The current spokesperson for the Department of State, Kirby, is the keynote speaker at the USF Veterans Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom A.

Later at 1 pm, Kirby will be part of a presentation, “U.S. Foreign Policy in a Turbulent World,” on campus at the Patel Center for Global Solutions, Room 138.

Kirby is a former chief spokesman for the Department of Defense and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a USF alumnus and St. Petersburg native. He retired from the Navy in May 2015.

Other events for USF’s Veterans Week are scheduled to honor the nearly 2,000 veterans and their family members attending USF.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 11 am to 12:30 pm is the 6th Annual Chili Cook-Off at the Marshall Center Amphitheater. USF departments compete to be named for the top chili recipe. Free samples of chili are sampled by attendees who vote for their favorites.

A Salute to Service Football Game, USF vs. Temple, is scheduled Nov. 14 at Raymond James Stadium. Active duty military and veterans will be recognized during a presentation at the game.

Naming the chili is half the fun of participating in 2013 Annual USF Office of Veterans Services Chili Cook-Off. Photo courtesy of OVS.

Naming the chili is half the fun of participating in 2013 Annual USF Office of Veterans Services Chili Cook-Off. Photo courtesy of OVS.

A Belated Veterans Day Message from Overseas

Courtesy USMC

Courtesy USMC

I am sharing a message from one of my favorite Marines (and I know I’m not supposed to have favorites … but). He  is now in the private sector and currently overseas working with a private contractor.

Because he is not in the U.S., it makes his message even more powerful to his fellow Marines and the general public:

I wish all my fellow Veterans a great and safe Veterans Day and may you all take a few minutes to reflect on they days of past and really look at what you have and how if not for those that came before, we may not have those things today.

Every day I see Americans take the freedom they have for granted.

All I ask is for you to take a minute or two to reflect on sacrifices made by those who answer the call to serve. I’ll stand and fight with my fellow warriors so my family, friends, and our way of life will never cease to exist.

Fly those Flags everyday and paint our country in those beautiful colors.

SEMPER FI devil dogs happy belated birthday and to my brothers and sisters in other branches push on and never give up.

I too owe a belated 239th Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps.

10 Ways to Recognize Veterans’ Day

flag_homeHave you missed the Veterans’ Day parade or the ceremony at your local VA National Cemetery?

Well, there’s still time to show your appreciation for the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. Here are a few suggestions you can practice year-round:

  1. Fly the American Flag outside your home.
  2. Teach your children or grandchildren a patriotic song like America the Beautiful.
  3. Volunteer at your local VA facility.
  4. Write a letter or make a card to be delivered by Operation Gratitude which sends messages to active-duty deployed troops as well as veterans.
  5. Accompany a veteran on an Honor Flight, or be there to greet the veterans when they return.
  6. Participate in the Veterans History Project – the Library of Congress makes it easy with a step-by-step process.
  7. Visit Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Wall, or any of the other War Memorials or spend a quiet hour at your nearest National Cemetery.
  8. Sponsor a wreath for a veteran’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery for its 150th Anniversary or at your local VA cemetery through Wreaths Across America.
  9. Post a message of appreciation or photo from your Veterans’ Day on the WUSF Veterans Coming Home Welcome Wall.
  10. Check out the Military Avenue link on 101 Ways to Thank a Veteran.

A bonus suggestion: if you live with a veteran like I do, give him or her a hug and make their favorite meal for dinner.

Florida Veterans Day Events 2014

Photo courtesy of United States American Flags.com.

Photo courtesy of United States American Flags.com.

Throughout Florida and the nation, events, special shows and business discounts are scheduled to recognize veterans, their families and those who currently serving. Keep checking back for updates.

A map of Veterans Day observances throughout the United States is provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs: Celebrate our Veterans this Veterans Day.  Participate in Veterans Day events across the country on Nov. 11, and join VA as we #ThankAVet on social media.

On the Washington D.C. Mall is The Concert for Valor at 7 p.m. It’s open to the public and free. You can watch it on HBO or take a photo of yourself with your hand over your heart send it to #TheConcertforValor.

Monday, Nov. 10, 2014

TAMPA – 10 a.m.– A tribute to those who have served is set at Joe chillura Courthouse Square, corner of Madison and Kennedy, in downtown. The keynote speaker is Vice Admiral Sean Pybus, U.S. Special Operations Command.

TAMPA – 1 p.m.Monroe Middle School, 4716 Montgomery Ave. Brigadier General Timothy McGuire, U.S. Army, is the guest of honor as students and staff honor veterans with a school-wide program. Robinson High School’s ROTC Honor Guard will participate as will the Monroe MS JROTC.

Tuesday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

ALL FLORIDA STATE PARKS – To celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, entry into all state parks is free to veterans and the general public as a tribute to Veterans Day. Here’s the list of state parks: http://www.floridastateparks.org/thingstodo/deals.cfm

CLEARWATER – 9 a.m. – A dedication of the Clearwater Wall of Honor at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N. Osceola Ave. The historical exhibit honors Clearwater’s World War I service members whose names were discovered during the renovation of the Capitol Theatre. Painted by hand on a bare brick face and sealed from view during the theatre’s original construction in 1920 and 1921. The Tampa Bay Veteran’s Alliance, Congressman David Jolly, Clearwater Mayor George N. Cretekos, City and Clearwater Library officials, members of the public and military veterans. Preceding the dedication ceremony there will be a special program sponsored by the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance.

TAMPA – 10 a.m. – James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics, 13000 Bruce B Downs Blvd, host its 7th annual Veterans Day parade, classic car show and Welcome Home event on the hospital campus. It opens with a brief ceremony in front of the Fisher House followed by the parade with 70 units confirmed and grand marshall, U.S. Army Maj. Robert Kilmartin, awarded the Bronze Star Medal and two Purple Heart Medals. A cookout, sponsored by Operation Helping Hand, is planned afterward.

SARASOTA – 10 a.m. – The annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Sarasota to begin at Main Street and Osprey Avenue. At approximately 11 a.m., a ceremony at Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park, Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue, featuring keynote Michael Burns, a F-4 Phantom jet fighter pilot during Vietnam who was shot down and spent nearly five years as prisoner of war in Hanoi, Vietnam. The theme for the 2014 Veterans Day ceremony is “Honoring Those Who Served”.

ST. PETERSBURG – 11 a.m. – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will host its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center Campus, 10000 Bay Pines Boulevard North. Highlights: musical performances by the Keswick Christian School Choir; a special parade of colors; guest speakers U.S. Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, U.S. Central Command; U.S. Rep. David W. Jolly, and Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VAHCS. A shuttle service will also be available to provide transportation for guest from parking lots to the ceremony area. For directions, click here.

SAINT LEO – 11 a.m. – A Veterans Day Commemoration, a free event open to the community, is planned at Saint Leo University, in the Student Community Center, 33701 State Road 52, four miles east of Interstate 75 (Exit 285) in the town of Saint Leo. The keynote speaker is K. Steven Collier, U.S. Army (Ret.), a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and upon retirement, Collier returned to Dade City and founded a company, Technology – Management & Innovative Solutions.

TAMPA – 11 a.m. – Veterans Day Remembrance at the Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, 3602 US Highway 301. Free and open to the public, the park includes memorials to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars among the many places you can pay tribute to those who have served.

TAMPA – 7 p.m. – Writers and U.S. Army veterans Brooke King and Lorie Jewell will read their prose and poetry at Inkwood Books, 216 S. Armenia Avenue. The reading is free and open to the public. King, an adjunct professor of English at Saint Leo University, served in the U. S. Army and deployed to Iraq in 2006 as a wheel vehicle mechanic, machine gunner, and recovery specialist. Jewell, of Land O’ Lakes, is a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Army and the Florida National Guard with three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans Day Events, Parades, Films, Ceremonies

Photo Credit: Jackie Dorr

Photo Credit: Jackie Dorr

Throughout Florida and the nation events and special showings are scheduled to recognize the sacrifice of those who served in the US Armed Forces and those who are currently serving. Keep checking back for updates.

A map of Veterans Day observances throughout the United States is provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs: Celebrate our Veterans this Veterans Day.  Participate in Veterans Day events across the country on November 11, 2013, and join VA as we #ThankAVet on social media.

NOVEMBER 10 – Sunday

CLEARWATER – A Veterans Celebration and Movie in the Park, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance, is scheduled at Crest Lake Park, Gulf to Bay and S. Lake Dr, Clearwater, FL. Activities start from 3-5 pm with youth events like a dunk tank, water balloon toss and lure casting. The main event is at 5 pm with a Color Guard, speakers and Heroes’ Walk. TAPS at Sunset followed by the Movie in the Park, “They Were Expendable” with John Wayne and Donna Reed. For details: http://www.TampaBayVeteransAlliance.org

ST. PETERSBURG – A free, Veterans Entrepreneur Expo, sponsored by the volunteer business mentors at Pinellas SCORE, is planned exclusively for veterans, active-duty military and their families. The Expo: “Turn your Passion into Profits” is Sunday, Nov. 10, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Hilton Carillon Park, 950 Lake Carillon Dr, St Petersburg, FL 33716. Education tracks are scheduled throughout the day on business start-up basics, legal options, tips on franchising and a special discussion panel at 3:45 is on financing a business including the use of crowd-sourcing and SBA loans. Throughout the event, SCORE volunteers will be available for a “speed-meeting” to listen to ideas. The keynote speaker is Mark Swanson, an Army veteran, successful serial entrepreneur and Bright House executive. There is no cost. Prior registration is preferred but walk-ins will be welcomed. http:// http://pinellascounty.score.org/

TAMPA – Admission at Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Avenue, Tampa, FL, is free for military personnel (active-duty and veterans) Sunday, Nov. 10, and Monday, Nov. 11 from 9:30 am to 5 pm. The military member will need to show a Department of Defense photo ID at the Zoo’s ticket windows. As many as three direct dependents of military personnel also are entitled to free admission. Dependents may take advantage of the offer without their service member, though an adult must accompany minors. http://www.lowryparkzoo.com

MSNBC – The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) will debut “Wounded: The Battle Back Home,” a documentary film series that focuses on issues of critical importance to this generation of injured service members and their families through personal stories of struggle and resiliency. MSNBC is airing it on Sunday, November 10, 2013, at 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST as a part of special Veterans Day programming on “Taking the Hill.” http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org

NOVEMBER 11 – Monday – Veterans Day

ALL FLORIDA STATE PARKS – To celebrate Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2013, entry into all state parks (with the exception of the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park) is free veterans and the general public  as a tribute to Veterans Day. Check out the list of state parks HERE. http://www.floridastateparks.org/thingstodo/deals.cfm

BAY PINES – The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will host its annual Veterans Day Ceremony starting at 11:00 am. in the outdoor courtyard located behind building 37.  The event is open to all Veterans, their family and friends, and the general public. Highlights to include musical performances by the Keswick Christian School Choir; a special parade of colors, guest speakers U.S. Marine Col. (retired) Mr. Robert H. Chase, Jr., Deputy Director, Interagency Action Group, United States Central Command, and Suzanne M. Klinker, Director, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. Reserved and general parking will be available nearby.  A shuttle service will also be available to provide transportation for guest from parking lots to the ceremony area. For directions http://www.baypines.va.gov/locations/directions.asp

 

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Veterans Day Discounts for Those Who Served

flags-multiple-in-groundMy thanks to Another Day who compiled the following listing iszukala.com Veterans Day discounts on goods, services and restaurants for 2013. Most require proof of military service and not all franchise locations participate.

2013 Veterans Day Restaurants:

Applebees – Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu, on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11.

Bar Louie – On Sunday, Nov. 10 and Monday, Nov. 11, all Bar Louie locations are offering veterans and military personnel a free meal up to a $12 value.

California Pizza Kitchen – Veterans and active military receive a free pizza on Monday, Nov. 11.

Champps – On Monday, Nov. 11, Champps will offer a free handcrafted burger with waffle fries to veterans and active duty military.

Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse – Charlie Brown’s is offering a free meal to veterans and active duty military all day on Monday, Nov. 11.

Cheeseburger in Paradise – Veterans and military personnel receive a free All American Burger with fries on Monday, Nov. 11 with the beverage purchase of $1.99.

Chili’s – Veterans and active duty get a free entrée all day from a limited menu on Monday, Nov. 11.

Denny’s – Active, inactive and retired military personnel can get free all you can eat pancakes on Veterans Day nationwide.

Einstein Bros. Bagels – Active, inactive and retired military personnel receive a free Signature or Classic Bagel and Shmear (or any other topping) on Monday, Nov. 11.

Famous Dave’s – Famous Dave’s is offering various discounts and free meals on Monday, Nov. 11 with proof of service. Specific offers vary by locations.

FATZ – Veterans and active duty military can enjoy a free entrée at FATZ, up to a $15 value. Veterans who dine at FATZ on November 11 will also receive a $2 coupon for use on their next visit.

Friendly’s – Veterans and active military receive a free Big Two Do Breakfast and coffee on Monday, Nov. 11.

Golden Corral – Golden Corral is offering a free dinner on Monday Nov. 11, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.

Hooters –Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal on Monday, Nov. 11. Continue reading

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