Veterans served their country, endured tough conditions and often exhibited great heroism in the line of fire.
Every year on Veterans Day, businesses around the Region say thanks. Restaurants, retail stores and other firms salute veterans with freebies, discounts and other deals.
Here's a look at some of the local businesses offering veterans thanks on Veterans Day, which falls on Thursday this year. Most businesses require a military ID, DD 214 or other proof of military service.
Corporate chains extend many of the deals and not all local franchisees may honor them, so call ahead to check. The free meals typically are limited to a special menus for the occasion and do not include everything on the regular menu.
Free train rides
The South Shore Line is offering veterans and active-duty service members free train rides through Thursday. Just tell the ticket taker you served or are serving in the military.
Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary is offering a free Legendary burger. The Fresh Harvest restaurant at the new casino also is offering a free meal.
Restaurants offering free meals, usually off a limited menu, include Texas Corral, Round the Clock in Highland and Schererville, Quaker Steak & Lube, BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Chili's, Buffalo Wild Wings, White Castle, Applebee's, Chili's, Red Robin, Bar Louie, Hooters, Pilot Flying J, Travel Centers of America and Olive Garden.
Denny's, Bob Evans, IHOP and Wendy's all offer free breakfasts at participating locations.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit and Mission BBQ give vets free barbecue sandwiches at participating locations.
Dunkin' Donuts offers veterans free doughnuts on Veterans Day.
Golden Corral hosts a popular free buffet for veterans from 5 p.m. to close on Veterans Day.
Little Caesar's offers free lunch combos from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Starbucks provides free coffee to vets on Veterans Day.
Sport Clips and Great Clips are offering free haircuts or cards for free haircuts that can be redeemed later.
Free dental care
On Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dr. Nicholas Berns of Crossroads Family Dental in Schererville will provide free dental services to veterans. Vets can call 219-865-4095 for a free cleaning, filling or extraction.
Free appetizer or dessert
Red Lobster is offering veterans a choice of a complimentary lobster and langostino pizza, seafood-stuffed mushrooms, Parrot Isle jumbo coconut shrimp, langostino lobster-artichoke-and-seafood dip, crab-stuffed shrimp Rangoon, signature jumbo shrimp cocktail, mozzarella cheesesticks, white wine and roasted-garlic mussels, vanilla bean cheesecake, brownie overboard or Key lime pie.
Free meal vouchers
Texas Roadhouses in Portage and Dyer are offering free meal vouchers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday that can be redeemed later when the dining room is open.
TIDAL is offering veterans 40% off music streaming on Veterans Day.