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Veterans Day: What's open, closed on Nov. 11

Veterans Day is largely intended to thank and acknowledge living veterans who previously served in the United States military.

TAMPA, Fla. — Veterans Day is Nov. 11. Many across the nation will be spending the day honoring those who put their lives on the line for this country. 

Veterans Day is one of 11 federal holidays observed every year.

The holiday is also known for all the special discounts and freebies businesses offer members of the military. It's their way of saying thanks.

Here's what you need to know about the history, what's open and closed, and what deals are available. 

Veterans Day history

Veterans Day is a federal holiday that recognizes U.S. veterans for their service and sacrifice on behalf of their country.

It began in the aftermath of World War I. Although "The Great War" technically ended with the Treaty of Versailles, the fighting stopped seven months earlier when the Allied nations and Germany agreed to a truce that took effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Thursday, Nov. 11, 1918, became known as "Armistice Day."

A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed 1919 would be the first annual commemoration of the armistice, saying it should be a day of reflections filled with "solemn pride" in the heroism of the country's service members. In 1954, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day, making sure it honored all American veterans -- not just those who served in WWI.

In the late 60s, lawmakers voted to move Veterans Day to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees. But it caused confusion. In 1971, it led to Veterans Day being observed on Oct. 25. Annoyed by the shakeup, several states just kept recognizing the original November date instead. So, President Gerald R. Ford later moved Veterans Day back to Nov. 11 to honor the day's historical significance.

What's closed on Veterans Day?

There is no mail delivered on Veterans Day, but FedEx and UPS will still be making deliveries. 

USPS offices will be closed on Veterans Day. Most banks will also be closed for the holiday. 

Most stores and restaurants, however, will remain open. And, many will have deals and discounts for military members. 

Veterans Day Deals: 

  • 7-Eleven: Veterans will be able to get a free coffee or Big Gulp all day long through the 7-Eleven app.
  • Applebee’s: Veterans and active-duty military members will get a free meal from a limited menu. Proof of service is required.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: Veterans and active military who dine in or call for takeout can receive a free order of boneless wings and a side of fries. Visit the Buffalo Wild Wings website to see which locations are offering the deal.
  • Chili's: All military will get a free meal from a select meal. The deal is only available for dine-in. 
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Veterans and active military members can enjoy a 10 percent discount and free donuts at stores nationwide.
  • Famous Dave’s: All military personnel can receive a free Georgia chopped pork sandwich and a side.
  • Hooters: Active-duty military and veterans can get a free entree from the Veterans Day menu with the purchase of a beverage. 
  • IHOP: From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., enjoy free red, white and blueberry pancakes.
  • Kohl's: Veterans, active and former military personnel and their immediate families can get 30 percent off on in-store purchases from Nov. 11-14. 
  • Little Caesars Pizza: From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. all military personnel can receive a free lunch combo.
  • Starbucks: All military personnel and their spouses can enjoy a free tall hot coffee. Also, for every cup of hot coffee sold, Starbucks will donate to Headstrong and Team Red, White & Blue.
  • Wendy’s: Enjoy a free small breakfast combo with valid military ID.

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