Restaurants offer free meals to Veterans

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- For Dennis Divens, Veteran's Day was a good day to share a meal and some memories.

"It was good to listen to all the stories, because they're not all the same," says Dennis Divens.

Divens and fellow veterans from Grand Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center were just some of the many veterans enjoying a meal at area Applebee`s.

"So far today we've had over 200 veterans come in today and we're about 1:30," says Applebee`s GM Sean Anderson.  "So we're hoping to have four to 500 veterans come in."

Many area restaurants and casinos were offering free meals to retired and active duty members of the military.

"Every Veterans day means something to me," says Divens, the retired Air Force Master Sergeant.  "I had brothers who were in the serviceand I was older than them but they went in the service before I did.  But once I got in I enjoyed it."

Monday morning at Bellefontaine cemetery they held a ceremony, retiring and raising the American flag and honoring the Medal of Honor recipients buried in the historic cemetery.

"Out here there are 11 medal of honor recipients throughout the nation's history starting with the Civil War to World War 1," says Major Scott Russell of the U.S. Air Force.  "Just very honored to be a part of paying our respects to them."

On this federal holiday to honor all retired U.S. service members, businesses like great clips were giving free haircuts.

The modern day way of saying thanks is something many retired military members are still getting used to.

 "During Vietnam nobody liked military people," says Army veteran Philip Scheidegger.  "There was no appreciation but we didn't want to be there in the first place.  But we were draftedand we had to."

With gratitude to veterans everywhere.