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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio


Consider veterans



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November 09, 2011 - I received a list of "free stuff to honor veterans" from Clarkston Cares for Military Families.

This sort of thing seems fairly recent. Hopefully, it's welcome to veterans, especially all the new vets of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Outback Steakhouse offers free Bloomin' Onions and Cokes this whole week.

On Veterans' Day itself, Friday, Nov. 11:

Free meals at Applebee's, Chili's, Hooters and Texas Roadhouse; free doughnut at participating Krispy Kremes for active-duty, retirees, and veterans; and free six-inch sub at participating Subway franchises to military veterans.

T.G.I. Friday's offers buy one get one free, Nov 11-14, at participating locations for anyone with an old or current military ID. National Park Service waives entrance fees during Veteran's Day weekend, Nov. 11-13. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants offers free lunch or dinner, Nov 13; and Golden Corral, free meal, Nov. 14.

I like all this stuff. For some, it may just be a marketing idea, but I'm sure most sincerely want to do something to show their appreciation. If your business is serving food, what else can you do but offer a free meal?

Clarkston Cares for Military Families also wants to know what everyone else is willing and able to do for vets as they return from Afghanistan and Iraq.

It's a good question. For me, I'll do what I can to make their voices heard and stories told. Local veterans groups help, but if you know a Clarkston veteran who has an interesting story to tell, which is all of them, let me know at 248-625-3370 or Clarkstonnews@gmail.com.

Veterans participating in the Occupy movements get a lot of attention, and they should. Occupy's executive officer of the week, or whatever they use for leadership, certainly make it known whenever a veteran in their ranks gets injured.

There, they have a point. What veterans do and say should be important.

If Occupy Wall Street, Oakland, and whatever knows enough to put veterans front and center, everyone else can do at least the same.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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