Sixty-one years ago, Emporia became the first town in the nation to celebrate Veterans Day.
Until then, Nov. 11 had been known as Armistice Day. But Al King, an Emporia man who ran a local shoe store, helped change all that.
In 1952, he suggested to local residents that the day be set aside for all veterans of all wars. The idea caught on, and the next year Emporia celebrated what it called All Veterans Day.
By 1954, President Eisenhower had signed legislation recognizing Nov. 11 as the federal holiday Veterans Day.
It is a day to honor all those who give service to their nation.
Following are a few area events planned to observe Veterans Day:
11 a.m. – Veterans Memorial Park, 339 N. Veterans Parkway. Ceremony includes speaker Troy Houtman, Desert Storm veteran of the U.S. Army and new director of Wichita’s Park and Recreation Department.
6 p.m. – Veterans Day movie “Honor Flight – One Last Mission,” Central Community Church, 6100 Maple. Donation requested of $10.
6 p.m. – Veterans banquet. Viewing of memorabilia at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. Music by Cross Connections Men’s Ensemble from Riverlawn Christian Church, hosted by Chapel Hill United Methodist Church Senior Ministry, 1550 N. Chapel Hill. Dinner is $10; program is free. Reservations requested for dinner, 316-744-1337.
Kansas Aviation Museum, 3350 S. George Washington Blvd., offers all veterans $2 off admission in recognition of Veterans Day.
11 a.m. – Traditional Veterans Day ceremony at El Dorado Middle School, 440 E. Wildcat Way.
7 a.m. – Veterans breakfast, Emporia Presbyterian Manor, 2300 Industrial Road.
9:30 a.m. – Veterans Day Parade, downtown Emporia.
11 a.m. – Memorial service, All Veterans Memorial, 931 S. Commerce.
Noon – Ham-and-bean feed, American Legion and VFW.
6 p.m. – American Legion Post No. 2, 400 Spencer. Newton Area Senior Center will honor veterans with a patriotic program and short concert by the Golden Notes. Ham and bean supper is included.
2 p.m. – Walk of Freedom at Derby Area Veterans Memorial in Garret Park. In case of inclement weather, the observation will be at the Woodlawn United Methodist Church, Derby. The ceremony includes dedication of an entryway that includes a tribute to Col. Merlyn Dethlefsen, a Derby Medal of Honor recipient. Speaker will be Lt. Col. Ben Jonsson, McConnell Air Force Base. The decision to move the event in case of bad weather will be posted on the Derby Community Foundation’s answering service at 316-788-9815.
Restaurants offering Veterans Day specials
Veterans Day is Tuesday, and many restaurants are offering specials for active and retired military members. All require military ID or proof of service. Among the restaurants:
Applebee’s, many Wichita locations: Free meal from special menu
BJ’s Brewhouse, 7960 E. Kellogg: Free meal (regularly under $9.95) or free mini-pizza
Carrabba’s, 3409 N. Rock Road: Free appetizer through Tuesday
Chili’s, several Wichita locations: Free meal from special menu
Chick-fil-A, 10515 W. 21st St. North, 7990 E. Central: Free Chick-fil-A sandwich or chicken biscuit during breakfast hours
Fox & Hound Bar & Grill, 1421 N. Waterfront Parkway: Free cheeseburger and fries
Hooters, 3151 N. Rock Road: Free meal (regularly up to $10.99) with any drink purchase
Jimmie’s Diners, 3111 N. Rock Road, 1519 S. George Washington Blvd.: 25 percent off meals
Krispy Kreme, 7777 E. Central: Free doughnut and small coffee
LongHorn Steakhouse, 2720 N. Maize Road, 440 S. Towne East Mall Drive: Free Tonion appetizer and a non-alcoholic beverage
McAlister’s Deli, 7130 W. Maple, 306 N. Rock Road: Free entree, drink and dessert
Red Robin, 9990 E. 13th St. North: One free Tavern double burger
Olive Garden, 323 N. Rock Road, 2641 N. Maize Road: Free meal from a special menu plus 10 percent off for family members dining with military member or veteran
On the Border, 2347 N. Maize Road, 1930 N. Rock Road: Free Create Your Own Combo meal
Outback Steakhouse, 2020 N. Rock Road, 233 S. Ridge Road: Free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage
Paradise Donuts, 3107 W. Central, 10607 W. Maple: Free traditional doughnut and 12-ounce coffee from 5 a.m. to noon
Pie Five Pizza, 334 S. Ridge, 2755 N. Maize: Free pie
Red Lobster, 555 S. West St., 333 S. Towne East Mall Drive: Free appetizer from special menu Monday through Thursday
Starbucks, several Wichita locations: Free tall coffee
Texas Roadhouse, 6707 W. Kellogg: Free lunch from a special menu
TGI Friday’s, 2441 N. Maize Road: Free lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Twin Peaks, 8310 E. 21st St. North, 7325 W. Taft: Free calendars, which contain $300 worth of coupons to the first 100 veterans in the door
Village Inn, 7020 W. Central, 1685 S. Rock Road, 3535 S. Meridian: Three pancakes, three slices of French toast or a Belgian waffle for free
Military-themed ice cream
Baskin-Robbins, 2556 N. Maize Road, 2126 N. Webb Road: Baskin-Robbins has just introduced its camouflage ice cream, which combines flavors of chocolate, salty caramel and cake into a green, brown and tan frozen pattern. The ice cream is available through the end of November, and on Veterans Day only, it can be ordered in camouflage waffle cones and waffle bowls as well. On Veterans Day, the company will donate 10 cents from each scoop sold to the United Service Organization.