America marks Veterans Day with parades, freebies
NEW YORK (AP) — Americans marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with parades, speeches and military discounts, while in Europe the holiday known as Armistice Day held special meaning in the centennial year of the start of World War I.
New York City's Veterans Day Parade up Fifth Avenue was to feature a float with rapper Ice-T plus six military dogs and their handlers, all of whom have served in the U.S. armed forces.
The float was funded by philanthropist Lois Pope, who works with several organizations that help reunite veteran dogs and the soldiers with whom they served.
While New York's Veterans Day Parade is the nation's oldest, the holiday also was celebrated around the country and overseas.
Boston's Veterans Day parade was to include a group representing LGBT military veterans for the first time. A recently formed group called OutVets said it expected between 10 to 30 people to march Tuesday in matching polo shirts and baseball caps.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie was scheduled to attend an event at the Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, a state-operated cemetery where more than 56,000 veterans and their family members are buried. Faculty and students in Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, were to read the names of troops killed during deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq since the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Eminem and Metallica were among the headliners for a free concert on the National Mall to raise awareness for issues affecting veterans, In Washington, D.C.
Tuesday's first-of-its-kind Concert for Valor is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of fans to the Mall. The Veterans Day event was spearheaded by Starbucks president Howard Schultz.
State officials in Ohio used the holiday to remind Iraq war veterans that time is running out to claim bonuses of up to $1,500. Ohio voters in 2009 approved a $200 million bond issue to fund bonuses for veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq war eras.
VETERANS PERKS AND FREEBIES
Veterans Day is not only a time to honor those who have served in the military. For American businesses, it's also a time to back up that appreciation with a freebie.
Many national chains, as well as mom-and-pop retailers around the U.S., offered free goods and services to anyone who has served in the military, a trend that has been growing since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They included IHOP pancakes, Starbucks coffee and even admission at select theaters to see the World War II film "Fury," starring Brad Pitt.
Europe marked Armistice Day with ceremonies and moments of silence as France opened an international memorial on a former battlefield. The events had special significance because this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Tuesday was the 96th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war on Nov. 11, 1918.
French President Francois Hollande placed a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier under Paris' Arc de Triomphe. Later, he was to head to northern France to inaugurate an international war memorial at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in the presence of German, British and Belgian officials. The Ring of Memory carries the names of 600,000 soldiers who died in the region during the war.