Filed under: Holidays on the Road
Veteran’s Day and Camping
As a veteran I’m always surprised at how many vets I meet in the campgrounds and RV parks. It seems that camping and RVing attracts veterans for some reason. I know I was pleasantly surprised at how many submarine terms are used by RVers. Of course, I also remember the RV salesman telling me I should rent an RV for a few weeks to determine if I can handle living in such a small area. I assured him that I would have no problem with the confined space since there is a lot more room than I had on the submarine. Today, since it is Veteran’s Day, I thought I would take a look at the holiday and camping.
The origins of the holiday begin with Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation of November 11, 1919 as Armistice Day. In 1938 Congress declared Armistice Day as a legal holiday dedicated to honoring veterans of WWI. In 1954 (after WWII and Korea), Congress modified the act and changed Armistice to Veterans, and rededicated the holiday to veterans of all wars. In 1968, the Uniform Holiday Bill moved Veteran’s Day (as well as Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day) to Monday, in order to promote travel (and, naturally, camping). However, the significance of November 11 for Veteran’s Day proved to be too strong a driving force from Veteran groups, so in 1978 the celebration of the holiday returned to November 11. For excellent information on the History of Veteran’s Day, see the VA web page dedicated to the Holiday.
Since camping seems like a popular thing for veterans, I decided to try a Google search on “Veteran’s Day” and “free camping”; there were over 1300 hits discussing a variety of free offers for overnight and day camping through the weekend in almost all state parks and many other locations. It is easy to take advantage of these offers; all you need is some proof of prior (or current) service (I have a copy of my DD214 for when I need to prove prior service). Based on the number of offers, I would assume that camping is a popular past time for veterans.
I also noticed that there are many other offers for veterans for this holiday–such as a free donut from Krispy Kreme, certain meals for free at Applebee’s, and a free Bloomin Onion at Outback.
There are also many local offers available, such as free buffet at the Station Casinos for active duty and retired military (okay, this one is not for all Veterans) here in Las Vegas as well as discounts at Famous Dave’s BBQ (I chose the Las Vegas offers since that is where I am today). Las Vegas also had a Veteran’s Day parade downtown, so I am sure that there are many other offers available in the downtown area.
While it is always nice to learn about these offers for free camping and food, it is important to remember why we celebrate Veteran’s Day; especially during a time when so many of our service members are in harms way, and the ranks of veterans are swelling as the service members return from these conflicts. Yes, the VA is an excellent organization that provides a lot of help for these returning service members, but they cannot do it alone. They are overwhelmed with the increased numbers, and many veterans who leave the service are not able to take advantage of or qualified for all of the benefits. It is important that we, as a society, remember the sacrifice these men and women made, with no expectation of anything in return.
Happy Veteran’s Day.