Applebee’s Thank You movement for Veterans

In addition to offering free meals for veterans and active duty service members on Veterans Day,  Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® has started the Thank You Movement, an ongoing initiative to collect millions of thanks for U.S. Veterans and Active Duty military and aimed at inspiring Americans to stand up and thank the men and women of the military for their commitment, sacrifices and bravery.

Country music star Rodney Atkins helped Applebee’s kick off the movement with a performance in Times Square and is the  Thank You Movement Ambassador. He was joined by hundreds of civilians, veterans and military organizations, including representatives from Pinnacle Five, comprised of former senior enlisted members from all branches of the U.S. Military and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

“Every minute of every day is an opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to the members of our military,” said Atkins. “We want to thank them for their service to our country. The Thank You Movement will make sure that veterans and troops are top of mind and deep in our hearts all the time.”

Aimed at creating a groundswell of gratitude for our nation’s military, the Thank You Movement gives messages of thanks to our veterans and troops via, Applebee’s Facebook Fan Page, #thankyoumovement on Twitter and on YouTube. The Web site will host a live rolling counter of ongoing Thank Yous. Veterans and active duty troops can then go online anytime to see and hear the heartfelt thanks of the people they serve.

In addition, Applebee’s will collect personalized Thank You cards at participating restaurants through Veterans Day. Applebee’s non-profit partner DAV will distribute the cards from the restaurants to veterans and troops to ensure that all Thank You cards are given to real American heroes. DAV has worked to build better lives for veterans and their families for over 90 years, and will deliver these messages of thanks through its wide range of programs, services, and publications.

The Thank You Movement is a natural extension of both Applebee’s and Atkins’ support of veterans and troops. For the past two years, Applebee’s has served more than two million free thank-you meals on Veterans Day. Applebee’s announced recently it will continue that neighborhood tradition again this year on Friday, Nov. 11.

Atkins has also supported the U.S. armed forces and their families, often visiting with soldiers around his touring schedule, volunteering his time at various base concerts and visiting with wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 2012, he will participate in USO tour of military bases abroad.

“For Applebee’s, offering a free meal on Veterans Day has been about saying thank you,” said Mike Archer, president of Applebee’s Services, Inc. “Now, we’re helping other people say thank you — every day.”

More free stuff and discounts for veterans and milfams

Outback Steakhouse is offering all veterans and active military a Free Bloomin’ Onion® and a Coca-Cola® with valid military ID, from November 7 – 11, 2011 at participating Outback Steakhouse locations. Outback is also still operating the Operation Feeding Freedom program, which they started in 2002. Through this program they send a team of volunteer employees to Afghanistan to feed American troops. Since then, Outback has made a total of 9 trips to the Middle East and served over 215,000 troops, bringing them a much needed taste of home. And in the past two years Outback has donated $2 Million to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization providing everyday and emergency support for active troops, wounded warriors and their families.

We honor our heroes with a FREE Bloomin' Onion and a Coca-Cola November 7-11, 2011 in celebration of Veterans Day



B&Bs for Vets

Innkeepers want to say thank you to those who have served their country by inviting veterans to wake up on Veterans’ Day (November 11, 2011) in a Bed and Breakfast. Throughout the U.S. and Canada, B&Bs will honor active military and veterans by offering complimentary stays on November 10, 2011, in observance of Veteran’s Day. To date nearly 500 inns and B&Bs have signed up to participate in the B&Bs for Vets program in the U.S. For a complete list of participating inns and B&Bs, visit for participating inns in the U.S. and for participating Canadian B&Bs. For more discounts for military Families and veterans, visit the Discount Center,

Hotels Offer Vet Day Discounts

Red Roof Inn is saluting our nation’s service members and veterans with a special 15 percent discount for the entire month of November, as well as an additional 11 percent off when you stay on Veterans Day, November 11. Veterans and active or retired military can take advantage of these deals. This offer is only available at select properties. Proof of present or past military service must be provided. To book the month long Veterans Day special reference VP+(R) code 604287; to receive the special 26 percent discount for staying with Red Roof on Veterans Day, November 11, reference VP+ code 611404. Call 800.RED.ROOF (800.733.7663) or book online at the Red Roof Inn website at For more discounts for military Families and veterans, visit the Discount Center,


Regional Veteran’s Day Discounts

America’s Incredible Pizza Company (St. Louis and St. Peters, MO). Free meal Nov. 11th. Call ahead to verify hours and locations.
Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA). Free admission for veterans, military personnel, police officers, and firefighters who show valid service ID on November 11, 2011. More info.
Brevard Zoo (Melbourne, FL), Nov. 11-13. Free Admission to military veterans with proof of service. More info.
Des Moines Botanical Center. Free admission November 11, 2011 for Veterans and their families. More info.
San Antonio Symphony and the United States Air Force Band of the West. Free Veterans Day Concert November 13, 2011. More info.

If you only take one survey this year…

…it should be this one.

For the last few years Blue Star Families has conducted a survey of military family members in order to identify needs, wants, strengths, weaknesses and whatnot. These survey findings go directly to decision-makers and have influenced national policies regarding military families in ways that are nothing short of mind-boggling.

The survey takes only a few minutes to complete, I promise. I’ve already taken it myself. So spend a few minutes letting the powers-that-be know about your life instead of, oh I dunno, stalking your high school friends on Facebook.

Have something to say about military life … AWESOME because we want to hear it! 

It’s time for our annual survey.  The one where you tell us about op-tempo, healthcare, childcare, education, career stuff, and more.  Then the BSF whiz team goes all analytical on us and organizes the data into usable results which we use to shape our programming…and keep our elected leaders in the loop on what the military community is buzzing about.  Afterwards, we share the survey results with people you may recognize …  the FIRST LADY, Senator Barbara Boxer, the Senate Armed Services Committee Staff, the House and Senate Military Family Caucus, and others. Take a few minutes and share your experiences with us.  It makes a difference!

As you know, Blue Star Families is a non-profit which means we rely on extremely generous donations from companies and individuals.  The folks listed above have been a huge asset to our survey … and we are eternally grateful for them.  This survey was underwritten by grants from: Blue Shield of California Foundation,, Facebook, and The Leichtag Foundation. A big shout out to More than a dozen military family and veteran support organizations that partnered with Blue Star Families on the survey, including the American Red Cross, the Armed Services YMCA, the Association of the United States Army, Be The Change, Inc., the Military Child Education Coalition, the Military Officers Association of America,, Military Spouse Magazine, Military Spouse Corporate Career Network, the National Military Family Association, Operation Homefront, the Reserve Officers Association, Student Veterans of America, the USO, Veterans Innovation Center, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Okay … seriously you need to take the survey.  Grab a cup of tea (or if you are like me and it’s still 95 degrees in sunny Arizona, then get a tall drink of water) and share part of your life with us.  The questions were constructed by our experts with input from other experts (YOU!) and your answers will provide a clear picture of military life for our policy makers. Last year’s survey data was included into policy considerations by the current Administration and Congress; Cited by the White House in the December 2010 report Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment which was a precursor to the Joining Forces Initiative; And provided information through sworn testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee staff; the Subcommittee on Personnel Hearing for the Senate Armed Services Committee.