I think that we all lose sight of what Memorial Day really means. We don’t truly appreciate what it means or why we celebrate it. Wait. I won’t project, so, I will speak for myself. For far too many years, I have treated Memorial Day like it was any other holiday. A long, three-day weekend holiday to relax, grill out, watch TV, hang out with friends, travel, and most importantly, shop.

The average American spends about $500 shopping on Memorial Day. We buy TVs, appliances, food, clothes, and anything that we think we can get for a good deal. Every year we are bombarded with TV and online advertising promoting Memorial Day deals and discounts. Memorial Day has become a time of the year to consider discounts. Yet, it is much more than that.

I have several relatives who are military veterans. It pains me to say that it has only been in recent years that I take time to contact them and invite them to Memorial Day functions. Or help them find the closest Memorial Day discounts for active duty members and veterans. Memorial Day is a federal holiday to encourage respectful reflection on military members who gave their lives for the United States.

There is no way for anyone to separate commerce and commercialism from Memorial Day. Or for that matter, any other major federal holiday. That way of thinking is, baked into the cake, as they say. However, the least we can do is appreciate the active duty members and veterans we know. And, help them score discounts and freebies from businesses offering Memorial Day deals to active duty members and veterans.


Participating Applebee’s throughout the country are offering meals at a 15% discount throughout May, Military Appreciation Month, and Memorial Day. Active duty members and veterans need to show military ID or proof of former military service for redemption. Ask about a $5 bonus card for use on later visits.


Active duty military and veterans can take advantage of a buy-one-get-one free deal at all participating Potbelly sandwich shops. When they buy a sandwich, “pick-your-pair,” meal, or salad, they can get another one for free. The Potbelly Memorial Day BOGO deal is valid on May 26 and May 27 only. Active duty members and veterans need to show valid ID or proof of former service.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill

Rubio’s Coastal Grill is also offering a BOGO meal deal for active duty military and veterans. You can get a free entrée if you buy an adult entrée of equal or greater price. This BOGO deal is valid only on Memorial Day. Presentation of military ID or proof of former service is required. Also, you need to print out and present this coupon.

Never Assume

Keep in mind that many businesses that offer Memorial Day discounts and freebies to active duty members and veterans do so on their own terms. Always bring ID and/or proof of former service. Call ahead and ask for rules and dates of eligibility. Not all titles, ranks, terms of service, or familial affiliations will be honored. It’s better to know before arriving.

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