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Veterans served to protect our country: Here’s where they can get served with deals and freebies today

(Editor's note: This is a national list, due to pandemic restrictions in El Paso County, items such as dine-in offers and haircut deals may not be available locally.)

Veterans Day will be celebrated a bit differently this year, but there are still freebies and deals aplenty for America's veterans and active military members.

Because of the pandemic, many of these deals at restaurants and businesses are good both in-store and online -- though it's best to call ahead to make sure. Most of these deals are valid for veterans and active military with proof of service.

Here's a sampling of some of the best Veterans Day offers this year.

Restaurants

Applebee's: Free meal with proof of service. The offer is only good for dine-in, and beverage and gratuity aren't included.

BJ's Restaurants: Free entree up to $14.95 -- plus a free Dr. Pepper -- with proof of service. The offer extends to takeout, too, with the code "VETERAN."

California Pizza Kitchen: Free entree and beverage from a list of preselected options. The offer is available for dine-in and take-out.

Chili's: Free meal from a list of preselected options, dine-in only.

Denny's: Free "Build Your Own Grand Slam" breakfast. The offer is dine-in only from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Dunkin': Free doughnut. Dunkin' also donated $10,000 to A Million Thanks, a nonprofit that sends letters of thanks and encouragement to military members.

Menchie's: Free 6 ounces of frozen yogurt.

Starbucks: Free tall hot brewed coffee -- and this offer extends to military spouses, too. The company will also donate 25 cents for every hot brewed coffee sold that day to causes that support military mental health.

Dairy Queen:  Free medium Blizzard® Treat. All Veterans must be in uniform or show valid proof of service (Military ID, Veterans designation on driver’s license, or DD214 paperwork).

Businesses and experiences

Car washes: Over 1,600 wash operators across the U.S. give free washes to vets on Veterans Day. You can locate one near you through Grace for Veterans, which compiles participating businesses.

Haircuts: Sports Clips is offering free haircuts on Wednesday to vets and active military. At Great Clips, veterans and active military can get a free haircut or get an "IOU" card to use at a later date this year. Non-military customers can get a haircut and give a free haircut card to a military member they know.

National Park Service: Beginning on Veterans Day 2020, military veterans and Gold Star families will have free access to over 2,000 federal lands including national parks and monuments.

Zoos: Zoos across the US, including Zoo Tampa and Zoo Miami in Florida, Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, the Cincinnati and Columbus Zoos in Ohio, the Omaha Zoo in Nebraska and Point Defiance Zoo in Washington, are letting veterans and active military in for free. Some of the offers extend to military spouses and family members, too.

Lifestyle

CNN

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