The Downtown Boise Veterans Day Parade may have been celebrated last weekend, but Veterans Day actually falls on Saturday, November 11.

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media Boise

In my family, Veterans Day has always been a big deal because of my grandfather, John Bistrica.  Grandpa was part of the first assault wave on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day.  The night of the assault, he and his fellow soldiers dug in hoping not to be attacked by German tanks.  The next morning, they were shocked to find out that a German unit had spent the night on the other side of the shrubbery they were near.  They were able to able to capture 14 of those German.

He fought for four months before suffering a concussion when a shell exploded near him.  The explosion also damaged his hearing and they ended up honorably discharging him. He mad it home just in time to enjoy Christmas with his family (who had initially been told that he was missing in action) in 1945.  Over the years, he's spent Veterans Day telling his stories to elementary school students in our home town and participating in parades honoring vets and the military.

I can't thank my Grandpa enough for his bravery at the age of 20 and giving my dad, his siblings and us grandkids the opportunity to live live our own American dreams...but many Treasure Valley businesses are finding little ways to thank vets like my grandpa and those who served after him this weekend.  Check out the deals and freebies available this weekend.

  • Denny's

    Treasure Valley Denny's locations is serving up one of their most iconic dishes for vets on Friday from 5 a.m. - 12 p.m.  Active, inactive and retired military will receive a free grand slam.

  • IHOP

    IHOP loves serving up free pancakes.  Fresh off of doing free "scary face" pancakes for kiddos on Halloween, they're now offering vets a stack of Red, White and Blue pancakes or a patriotic pancake combo from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Friday, November 10th.

  • Applebee's

    Applebee's has put together a special menu for veterans and active duty military.  Bring in a military ID and choose from a FREE entree of the Butcher's Meat and Potatoes, Chicken Tenders Platter, Oriental Chicken Salad, Three-Cheese Chicken Cavatappi, The American Standard, Fiesta Lime Chicken or Double Crunch Shrimp on Saturday.

  • Big Al's

    A big shout out to our friend Amber, for telling us about this deal! Big Al's in Meridian will offer free bowling for active and retired military members all Veterans Day weekend! The deal runs from Friday, November 10-Monday November 13.

  • Bonefish Grill

    The Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer is one of the most popular items at this BoDo restaurant and it's FREE to veterans on Saturday.

  • Buffalo Wild Wings

    If you're a veteran or active duty military, you may have just found where you'll be watching the BSU game on Saturday night! Buffalo Wild Wings brings back their "Wings for Heroes" day, offering a free small order of traditional boneless wings and a side of fries. It's dine in only on Saturday.

  • Chili's

    Like Applebees, is offering a special menu of free meals for vets and active duty military this Saturday.  The Broadway location was just remodeled, so this might be the perfect time to check it out!

  • Chuck E. Cheese

    We know the veterans and active duty military members probably aren't going to Chuck E. Cheese on their own.  They're probably going with their kids or grandkids, but Chuck and friends are glad you're there! Bring a military ID proving your service and get a FREE personal one-topping pizza for you and your eligible dependents.  You'll also need to tell them you'd like to use promo code 5500 on Saturday.

  • Cracker Barrel

    Sorry while we drool.  Cracker Barrel is honoring vets and active duty military with a free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca Cola Cake on Saturday.

  • Crafstman Unlimited Haricuts

    The Treasure Valley barbershop is celebrating its official grand opening with free haircuts for not just vets and military, but to first responders as well! The offer is valid at their Maple Grove location from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. All appointments are walk-ins.

  • Dickey's Barbecue Pit

    Veterans can take enjoy a sandwich and side on the house and get one of Dickey's famous "Big Yellow Cups" to wash it all down with.  Offer valid Saturday from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.

  • Famous Dave's

    Take a trip out to the Famous Dave's on Eagle Road to enjoy a free two meat combo...that is if you're a veteran or current member of the military.  Offer valid Saturday.

  • Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

    If you're a veteran or active duty military, Freddy's has a free combo meal waiting for you Saturday!

  • Little Caesars

    Pizza pizza! Veterans and active duty military can grab a lunch combo from 11 a.m. - 2p.m.

  • Olive Garden

    Olive Garden has a select menu of FREE meals available to vets and active duty military on Saturday.

  • Outback Steakhouse

    Outback is offering vets and active duty a "Vegemite Sandwich."  No. I'm kidding.  That was a really bad Men at Work joke.  They're offering a FREE Bloomin' Onion and soft drink on Saturday.

  • Panera Bread

    Panera Bread is offering veterans and active duty military a free breakfast sandwich from open until 10 a.m.  After that, they can take home a free pastry coupon for a feature visit.

  • Red Lobster

    Mmmm...cheddar biscuits.  Sorry, we got distracted! Red Lobster is offering vets and active duty military their choice of a free app or dessert.

  • Red Robin

    YUM! Vets and active duty military get a free Red's Tavern Double Burger and bottomless fires on Saturday.  If you go to the Eagle Rd. location, give our girl Katie a shout out! She's the best server in town!

  • Sizzler

    Get your grub on before the Boise State kick off.  Sizzler has free lunch from a special menu for vets and active duty military until 4 p.m.

  • Starbucks

    Starbucks isn't just thanking vets and active duty military, they're also honoring those who hold down the home front (military spouses.) Swing by Saturday for a free tall coffee.

  • Texas Roadhouse

    Free special menu for vets and active duty military on Saturday, plus a soft drink!

  • TGI Friday's

    Friday's is thanking vets and active duty military on Veterans Day and beyond! Free lunch is available up to $12 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.  They also get a coupon for $5 off their next visit.