by Joanna Metheny
With origins almost one hundred years old, and rooted in the celebration of the end of World War I, Veterans Day became an official national holiday in 1938, and falls each year on November 11. The holiday provides a day of national recognition where we have the opportunity to honor and celebrate the service of all U.S. veterans.
The greater Ripon area is host to a large number of events and special Veterans Day offerings. Those looking to either honor their loved ones or participate themselves can do anything from attending a special ceremony or enjoying a catered luncheon, to receiving discounts at local retailers or free meals. Below are some area highlights for the weekend.
Ripon Veterans Day Celebration
The Ripon American Legion and VFW will be jointly hosting a service at the Veterans Park Memorial, located at the corner of 1st and Locust Streets. The service will begin at 10:30 a.m., with Ripon JROTC bringing in the colors, and there will be a special guest speaker. Afterwards, head on down to the VFW, at 12455 W. Ripon Road, for lunch. They will be serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, and chips, free of charge to honor our local vets. The luncheon is open to all veterans, active duty military, ceremony attendees, and the greater community. Make sure to also swing by the Ripon Veterans Museum, adjacent to the memorial wall, on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The museum has a surprisingly extensive collection of memorabilia inside, a wide variety of past and present uniforms, and pictures of many of our local vets lining the walls.
Other local events
For those interested in travelling a little further, Tracy-based FIX’D has partnered with the Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin County to hold a celebratory event on the Friday before Veterans Day. From 9 a.m. to noon on the 10th, FIX’D will be honoring vets with a meal catered by a local, yet to be disclosed, Tracy restaurant. The all morning event will have KAT Country, a handful of vendors, and some local congressmen. All vets who come to the morning meal will also receive a bag of food from Second Harvest. FIX’D is veteran-founded non-profit that offers transitional resources such as peer to peer counseling to vets. For more information about the event, see here. https://www.facebook.com/907201292663532/photos/a.907290572654604.1073741828.907201292663532/1629903963726591/?type=3&theater
Free and Discounted Meals
Quite a few national restaurants offer free or discounted meals to veterans on the holiday, many of which do not require any other purchase. Here are a few select deals for our area. All deals are for veterans and active duty only, Saturday, the 11th, unless otherwise noted. For a more exhaustive list, see here https://militarybenefits.info/veterans-day-discounts-sales-deals-free-meals/ and here https://www.thebalance.com/veterans-day-free-meals-1357348
Pizza Plus, Ripon
50% off every order, all day, for veterans
Build your own Grand Slam, available 5 a.m. to noon on Friday, Nov. 10th, proof of service required
Free red, white, and blue pancakes, all day, Friday, Nov. 10th
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
Complimentary entrée, valid Friday and Saturday, ID required
Free meal from a select menu, proof of service required
Buffalo Wild Wings
Free small order of wings with a side of fries
One free donut
Free Red’s Tavern Double Burger and bottomless fries, dine-in only
Free lunch entrée, until 4 p.m., ID required
Free lunch from special menu, drink included, ID required
Free special buffet meal, Monday, Nov. 13th, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Free entrée from select menu
Other Deals & Discounts
Yosemite National Park – free admission, Saturday only
California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento – free museum admission and excursion train ride, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., ID required
Dollar General, 11% discount for veterans, active duty, and family members, instore or online
Cost Plus World Market – 25% off all weekend, ID required
Great Clips – free haircut
Home Depot – 10% off for veterans
Tractor Supply – 15% off entire purchase
Free oil change at Meineke, 401 Bangs Ave, Modesto
Free car wash through Grace for Vets, for participating locations, see here https://www.graceforvets.org/veterans/find-a-wash
About the author: For nearly a decade, Joanna Metheny has been a freelance writer specialized in the coverage of local topics and community interest stories. A Central Valley transplant and Bay Area native, Joanna permanently relocated to Ripon and hasn’t looked back once. She loves the city’s proud agricultural history and small town feel. Joanna enjoys spending her time in the community, tending her garden, and discovering local secrets along Ripon’s backroads.