KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This Veterans Day, the Kansas City area will honor the millions of service members across the United States who served our country.

The holiday falls on Nov. 11 every year, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, but has since become about recognizing all veterans. It was first observed in 1919 and became a legal holiday in May 1938.

To commemorate Veterans Day, many businesses offer special deals for active and former military members. There are also several ceremonies going on across the metro.

Here are some of the events, deals and freebies going on this Veterans Day in the Kansas City area:

Note: Most businesses require proof of military service, and the deals are available at participating locations only. It’s recommended that you call specific locations to make sure they are taking part.

National WWI Museum and Memorial

The Veterans Day celebration goes on all weekend at one of Kansas City’s most impressive landmarks. There will be several special activities and public ceremonies on the memorial grounds.

While you’re there, veterans and active duty military personnel can get free admission to the museum and memorial, and general admission will be half-priced for others.

Here’s the full event schedule:

Friday, Nov. 11

  • 10 a.m. — Veterans Day Ceremony with keynote address by General Michelle Johnson
  • Noon to 4 p.m. — Make-your-own poppy craft
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Vietnam-era Bell UH-1 “Huey” Helicopter Display
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Letter writing to active-duty military

Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 12-13

  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Vietnam-era Bell UH-1 “Huey” Helicopter Display
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Letter writing to active-duty military

Veterans Day 5K

There’s still time to sign up for this annual race in Parkville or you can cheer on participants. The event raises money for the VFW Foundation in honor of local runner and World War II veteran Ed Burnham.

The race starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at English Landing Park.

Cars 4 Heroes

The local organization Cars 4 Heroes donates about 300 of vehicles per year to former service members or family members of service members. 

This year on Veterans Day, they’re hosting a marathon of car giveaways going to six local heroes. There will also be several other presentations and ceremonies to honor the military.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Disabled American Veterans chapter in Kansas City.

Veterans Community Project

Kansas City’s tiny home village Veterans Community Project is saying thank you to those who have served on Friday. VCP will be offering a free breakfast, coffee and a small gift to veterans. KC CARE will also be on site for free dental screenings.

The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the VCP Outreach building near 88th and Troost.

Over at Dell’s Powersports in Grain Valley, they’re also holding a special raffle Saturday to benefit Veterans Community Project. The dealership is raffling off a custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle that showcases over 20 historic events and military personnel. Find more information about the raffle here.

Veterans Day Parade

Considered the largest Veterans Day parade west of the Mississippi River, this celebration in downtown Leavenworth has been going on for over 100 years.

World War II veteran Wilbur Grisham, a now-retired tech sergeant in the US Army, will be this year’s parade grand marshal. The event starts at 10:30 a.m.

JoCo Honors Vets

Johnson County will host its first in-person Veterans Day observance since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The county’s ceremony will feature patriotic music from the Olathe Northwest band and songs from the Sunflower Elementary choir in Lenexa. Local veteran organizations will present the colors, and “Taps” will be played.

Retired Kansas Army National Maj. Gen. Lloyd Krase is the featured speaker at the Johnson County event.

It’s scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Friday at the Lenexa National Guard Armory on 87th Street Parkway.

Deals and freebies

Hy-Vee

Veterans and active-duty military members can get a free buffet-style breakfast at all Hy-Vee locations from 6-10 a.m. Friday. Hy-Vee will also offer veterans and service members a 15% discount on grocery purchases all day.

Independence Square

Multiple locally owned businesses on the Independence Square are offering discounts and deals for those who have served Friday. Here’s a rundown:

  • Top Hat Winery – Half-priced sandwiches with military ID
  • Eclairs de la Lune – Veterans and their families receive free pastry and coffee
  • 3 Trails Brewing – First beer is on brewery with military ID
  • Southern Luv BBQ – 10% discount to all active and retired veterans
  • Game Cafe – Everyday they offer military discounts
  • Gilbert Whitney & Co – 10% off any purchase with military ID
  • Pharaoh Cinema 4 – Free admission to veterans and active duty personnel

American Legion Post 153

This American Legion post in Olathe is offering a free turkey lunch/dinner for all veterans and their family and friends. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Post 153 on Dennis Avenue. There will also be live entertainment from 3-6 p.m.

American Legion Post 58

At the Smithville American Legion post, veterans can find free chili all day starting at 11 a.m. There will also be happy hour deals running all day. From 7-8 p.m. there will be a free soup and sandwich dinner for veterans; the meal is free with a donations for others. At the same time, there will be a Grateful Americans USO show. Then Friday night Bingo starts at 8 p.m.

7-Eleven

7-Eleven is offering a free all-beef hot dog in honor of veterans. The offer is available in-store and via delivery through the 7NOW app on Friday.

54th Street Bar & Grill

Veterans and active duty military can receive $10 off any entrée at 54th Street Grill & Bar on Friday.

Applebee’s

On Friday, veterans and active service members can get a free dine-in meal at Applebee’s from a select menu. Military ID is needed. 

Arby’s

Veterans and active-duty military can grab a free classic roast beef sandwich from Arby’s on Friday.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Active-duty military, veterans and their spouses can get 25% off any in-store purchase.

Chili’s

The chain restaurant is offering veterans and active military members a free entrée from a special menu featuring pasta, soup, salad, chicken and more. 

Denny’s

All military personnel can get a free Grand Slam on Veterans Day. The offer is valid for dine-in only at participating locations with military ID.

Dunkin’

Dunkin’ is giving veterans and active service members a free donut of their choice on Veterans Day. The offer is good in-store only.

Hooters

Active-duty and retired military can receive a free entrée from a select menu at Hooters on Friday with the purchase of a beverage.

IHOP

Veterans and active-duty military dining in can get free pancakes at participating IHOP locations on Friday. Military ID required.

Krispy Kreme

Veterans and active military can get a free donut and a small hot or iced coffee on Friday.

Lamar’s Donuts

The regional doughnut chain is offering veterans and active military personnel a free coffee and regular donut on Friday.

Little Caesar’s

Veterans and active military can get a free lunch combo in store from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

QuikTrip

QuikTrip says current and former military with ID enjoy a free 30-ounce Big Q soft drink or coffee on Friday.

Red Robin

The burger chain is offering a free Tavern Double burger with unlimited fries on Veterans Day. 

Starbucks

Starbucks is offering a free hot or iced coffee in U.S. stores on Friday for veterans, military members and their spouses. 

Sports Clips

Veterans and active duty military members can come in for a free haircut at any participating Sports Clips location. 

Target

Target is offering veterans and active military 10% off two purchases made through Nov. 12. To get the deal, you’ll have to sign into your Target Circle account to verify your military status and then apply the offer before checking out in stores or online.

Walgreen’s

Friday through Monday, veterans, military and their families receive 20% off regular price eligible store items at any Walgreens store. A myWalgreens membership is required.

Wendy’s

All veterans and active military can get a free any size breakfast combo at Wendy’s on Friday morning. Valid military ID required.