Some gems await the active and former military folks this Veterans Day.

Recently I told a friend that I was almost jealous at how active duty military people are treated these days compared to the time I served during the so-called “Vietnam Era.” I said “almost” because I know it would be stupid for me to feel pangs of jealously just because I served in the military during a different time. First of all, I wouldn’t care to be in today’s military because of what the military calls “ops tempo,” or the frequency of unit operations. It was difficult enough serving on a warship where you might make a deployment for almost a year then after a month’s stand-down you might go to sea once a week while you were in homeport.

The men and women who serve today have my thanks and my empathy.

An increased appreciation for the military following 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has spilled over to those of us who have served in past wars both cold and hot. So, as if there would really be any jealousy felt on my part toward today’s armed service personnel, that helps make up for any feelings of underappreciation I feel.

For quite sometime a growing number of businesses have offered discounts or even freebies as a token of thanks for those who serve or have served in the military. Some of the long-time chains offering free meals on Veterans Day to active duty, reserve, or retired military or veterans include Applebee’s, who served 1,024,000 million free meals last year to the aforementioned, Golden Corral and Chili’s. That’s just to name a few.

An interesting site called The Military Wallet has a more extensive list of eating places where active duty and veterans can get a free meal on Veterans Day. If you have some proof of your service, an I.D. card or a picture or DD 214, and you are a veteran you shouldn’t go hungry this Veterans Day.

Restaurants aren’t the only merchants offering discounts or freebies. Businesses such as hotels and even beds and breakfasts are showing their appreciation to the military.

I have an upcoming appointment with a neurologist next week at the Houston VA hospital. During such visits I often book a hotel room the previous night so I won’t have to battle big city traffic after a 90-mile trip. I happened to find that the Red Roof Inn chain is offering 15 percent discounts to veterans during all of November. I don’t know how long it has been since I stayed in a Red Roof Inn. I looked on their Website for a room the night before my appointment and found a very good price for a hotel not far from the Texas Medical Center, where the DeBakey VA Hospital is located. I looked up several sites which have reviews of different hotels. I don’t pay a lot of attention to them because many times those who have a negative experience will be the main critics. However, I found some very good reviews for this particular inn.

A number of bed and breakfast outlets are offering free or discounted rooms on Veterans Day. As one might imagine, these are first come, first served and are going fast. I found some real gems on A Better Way To Stay, a Website self-described as a grassroots campaign to spread the word about B & Bs nationwide. Since I have a long weekend coming up then, it definitely has me thinking although I really need to act fast.

These are but a few, I hope they help if any present or former military people read this. And thanks for your service from one of you.