A guide for veterans on where to go on Veterans Day

flagWESTFIELD–In a salute to our servicemen and women this Veteran’s Day, many businesses in the area will be giving back to those who have humbly served this nation.

Veterans can expect many free meals, parades and programs on Nov. 11, with some events even running through the weekend. Those participating are local governments, organizations and even chain restaurants.

The free food starts early, with at least three different choices for veterans for breakfast. The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield will be providing breakfast for veterans and active duty personnel from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., located at 28 East Silver Street, Westfield. However, if you’re in the Holyoke area the Pioneer Valley USO will have its annual breakfast for veterans at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Then, if those times do not work for you, then you can always stop by any local Friendly’s restaurant and get a free “Big-To-Do,” which is a combination plate featuring multiple breakfast options. If you’re looking to satisfy that sweet tooth in the morning, you can also stop by local IHOP restaurants and receive free “Red, White and Blue” pancakes, starting at 7 a.m. Alternatively, you could even stop by a local Denny’s between 5 a.m. and noon and build your own Grand Slam for free.

After breakfast, feel free to check out some of the parades in the area. Westfield’s Veterans Day Parade starts at 10:30 a.m., at the Westfield Bank Chapel Street parking lot. It will march from there to Parker Memorial Park, where there will be a ceremony hosted by American Legion Post 124.

If you’re hungry from walking, there is even more free food available to veterans and active military members. In addition to free breakfast, Friendly’s will be providing veterans with a complimentary All-American Burger, with fries and a drink. Meanwhile, at 99 Restaurants veterans will be provided with a free lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the purchase of an entree, and Applebee’s is offering free meals to veterans from a modified menu all day.

If you’re in the mood for a steak though, Texas Steakhouse is offering free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other chain steakhouses will be offering deals, including a free Bloomin’ Onion at Outback and a free appetizer or dessert at Longhorn Steakhouse locations.

The appreciation of our service members continue through the weekend. On Nov. 12, the annual town of Longmeadow 5K run/walk will begin at 9 a.m., with proceeds benefiting multiple veterans organizations.

Also on Nov. 12, people can stop by the World War II Club in Northampton, and can donate gently used household items to Homeward Vets. Homeward Vets helps to provide homeless veterans that are transitioning into housing previously-owned furniture, cutlery, flatware and other household items to help make the transition easier.

Also on Nov. 12, for those veterans who may want to travel, Boston Harbor Cruises in Boston is offering free cruises to Fort Warren on Georges Island. The ship departs at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. And while out in the eastern part of the state, veterans can also enjoy a complimentary admission into The Hall at Patriot Place, from now until Nov. 15.

For more information on other deals, check out the military.com website.

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