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Is Veterans Day Too Commercial?

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) You may have heard about that 50 percent off sale at the mall, or an eatery offering a free meal on this Veterans Day, and some are wondering if this holiday, which honors those who have served past and present, is being over commercialized?

One local veterans group leader has mixed thoughts.
Veterans Day
Events in WNY

"New car sales, furniture sales, everybody's trying to sell things because it's Veterans Day. To them, it's like any other weekend, they have a ploy," says Erie County American Legion Commander Tom Dienzer.

Free Deals For Veterans Today:

Source: WBEN research & Militarybenefits.info. In most cases, proof of service is required.

Applebee’s  Grill & Bar -  one free entree

Bar Louie (Walden Galleria)  -free lunch or dinner up to $12.

Bob Evans  -free all–you-can-eat hotcakes

Boston Market  -free whole chicken with the purchase of a family meal.

California Pizza Kitchen, Amherst  -any pizza on menu

Chili's  -Various free options off a special menu

Denny's  -all-you-can-eat stacks of buttermilk pancakes.

Famous Dave's  -Various free items & discounts

Friendly's  -Free Big Two Do Breakfast and coffee

Great Clips  -free haircuts

Little Ceaser's - free crazy bread

Olive Garden - free meal off special menu

Outback Steakhouse - Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a beverage.

Red Lobster - free Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcohol beverage.

Red Robin - free Tavern Double burger.

TGI Friday's - free lunch

Starbucks - free tall brewed coffee to vets,  active military and their spouses.

"This is our day, we have to remember our fallen comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice and honor our current servicemen."

Dienzer does like the idea of restaurants honoring veterans by offering free meals. But even with that, he has mixed feelings.

"The free breakfasts, that's all good and great, but those who are involved with Veterans Day it's a busy day,. We do all sorts of things and we don't have time to get the free meal," says Dienzer.

 "But I do appreciate that, it's great that businesses do help our veterans. God bless them, it's all good."

Dienzer believes veterans should be appreciated each day, and some businesses do that for qualified veterans who sign up for Erie County's Thank a Vet program.

This complementary program is a way to recognize the veterans in our community for their service and sacrifice.

Eligible veterans will receive a photo I.D. card which identifies them as an honorably discharged veteran.

The veteran can then use this I.D. card at over 450 participating Erie County businesses who have agreed to honor the card by providing the holders with a discount on purchases or services. 


Exclusive WBEN Audio
From Hardline, The WBEN Politics Program
(Sunday Mornings 10am- 12 noon)

Are we doing enough for veterans?  Hear Veteran's Advocate Patrick Welch on the challenges vets face with jobs, drugs &  medical coverage.
Veterans Day Events in WNY

Veteran's Day Ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery. 8:30 AM   Join or the Erie County American Legion's annual Veterans Day Ceremony and Service at the American Legion monument near the Main Street gate in Forest Lawn. Flags will be placed on the graves of veterans interred in Forest Lawn's Field of Valor® and in the Erie County American Legion section beginning at 8:30 a.m.  The service, which begins at 9:00 a.m., will include an invocation, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, placing of wreaths, gun salute, blowing of Taps and more.

This event is free and open to the public. No reservations required.

Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel and Seneca Office Building  11 a.m.  Corner of Fourth Street and Wendel Way, Niagara Falls NY .
Barry E. Snyder, Sr., President of the Seneca Nation, Dale Snyder, U.S. Army, Vietnam veteran and members of the Iroquois Post #1587 band and color guard will honor  both Seneca and non-Senecas who have fought for 200 years in the world’s wars. A dedication luncheon will follow the outside ceremony to honor distinguished Seneca veterans and current service personnel.

Canisius College will host ceremonies begining at 12:00 noon with a wreath laying at the college’s Greatest Generation Memorial, located in front of Old Main. At 12:30 p.m., members of the Canisius community will participate in a Roll Call reading to honor Western New York’s fallen heroes.
A special tribute to veterans will also take place during the home opener of the Canisius men’s basketball game, which tips off at 7:00 p.m. in the Koessler Athletic Center on Main Street.  Veterans and current members of the U.S. military receive free admission to the game. 

  And Overseas...

Few people understand more about honoring the dead than Daniel Macrae. His uncle was killed in Normandy during World War II, his nephew was killed in the Gulf War, and Macrae himself is an undertaker in his native Scotland.

Dressed in a traditional kilt and wearing a cap from his former regiment, the 52nd Lowland Territorial and Volunteer Reserve, Macrae strolled through a field of paper poppies, some containing poignant messages, on the top level of the Menin Gate in Ypres. "I have relatives that died in different wars, but I'm here in Ypres to honor those who died in World War I," he said.

Macrae wasn't the only visitor in town for the Armistice Day weekend. Visitors from Commonwealth countries across the globe were drawn to the windy, cold corridor of the Menin Gate, designed by Reginald Blomfield in 1921 and opened in 1927.

The vaulted ceiling contains the names of more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives during World War I and have no known grave. The spot was chosen for the memorial as nearly every Allied soldier marched over it or near it on the way to the muddy battlefields.

On Monday, the 95th anniversary of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended World War I, Prince Philip, husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, will join other dignitaries for a special ceremony during which he will receive sandbags of soil from the fields of Flanders.

The 70 sandbags, collected by Belgian schoolchildren from Commonwealth cemeteries in Belgium, will be handed over to the King's Troop Royal Household Cavalry and then be taken to London where they will be placed in the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden at the Wellington Barracks.

The sound of bugles playing the "Last Post" will echo under the Menin Gate as it does every day, red paper poppies will float down onto the hushed public and the haunting lines written by poet Robert Laurence Binyon will be read:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them."

There are no longer any veterans from World War I to attend the ceremonies. The last, Britain's Florence Green, died in 2012 just a few days short of her 111th birthday.

More than four years of Great War centenary events will begin in 2014, 100 years since the start of World War I. Belgium will begin its commemorations in the city of Mons in August at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery. It contains the graves of both German and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the first days of the conflict, and also in the last days.

Across The Nation....

Americans will honor the sacrifices and service of armed forces veterans with parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, monument dedications and other events. Here are some of the activities scheduled for Monday:

President Barack Obama planned to attend a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Obama said in his Veterans Day proclamation that the country's obligations to those who have served "endure long after the battle ends." He said their courage, self-sacrifice and devotion represent the American character at its best and he encouraged everyone to honor every service member who has ever worn the country's uniforms.

The District of Columbia will honor two of the original Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal for Veterans Day.

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton will lay a wreath at the African American Civil War Memorial. A commemoration will follow for two Tuskegee Airmen who are D.C. residents at the African American Civil War Museum.

The U.S. military's first female four-star general will be a grand marshal at New York City's Veterans Day Parade.

Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody retired last year after a 37-year Army career. Organizers of the parade up Fifth Avenue have renamed it America's Parade.  The commemoration will include a wreath-laying ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will join a march and speak at the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the War Memorial.

Other Maryland events include Harley-Davidson enthusiasts gathering in Gaithersburg for their annual ride to Arlington National Cemetery to honor veterans; a parade in Leonardtown hosted by St. Mary's County; and a ceremony for veterans in Rockville, led by the city council and mayor.

A former prisoner of war will join Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin to dedicate a wall commemorating Vietnam veterans.

Fallin and Col. Lee Ellis will give speeches Monday at the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial Wall at Enid's Woodring Regional Airport. Ellis was a former Vietnam prisoner of war for more than five years with Sen. John McCain. The wall is a smaller replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

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