Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise to Noon on Monday, May 25, 2015.

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The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Rauner’s Office that all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff from Sunrise to Noon on Monday, May 25, 2015.

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Military Appreciation Month discounts

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Servicemembers and families are being honored during Military Appreciation Month with a variety of discounts. Below are some highlighted offerings. Please check back frequently as the list is updated, at

Adventure Aquarium

Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J., is offering $10 tickets with military ID and 4 additional guests Memorial Day weekend (May 23-25).

Affinia Hotel Collection

Book your stay at any Affinia hotel in NYC or D.C. between now and Sept. 7, 2015, and receive up to 20 percent off. Plus they will donate $10 per reservation to Wounded Warriors Family Support.

Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s military from Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, through Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2015.

California's Great America

For Memorial Day weekend, all active and retired servicemembers, including veterans, get free park admission to California's Great America, May 23-25, 2015, with a valid military ID.

Carnival Cruise

Carnival Cruise Lines is offering discounts and onboard credits in honor of Military Appreciation Month for active-duty and retired military personnel. You must book between May 4, 2015, and May 31, 2015, and the offer is good on sailings between Aug. 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016.

Chef Geoff's

Chef Geoff's, a neighborhood favorite in the greater Washington, D.C., area, provides 10 percent off to active members of the military starting May 28, 2015.

Colonial Williamsburg

Active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans and their dependents receive free admission Memorial Day weekend.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill is honoring active military and veterans by treating them to a free lunch or dinner entrée on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015.

General Motors

All active, reserve, retired and veteran military can receive the General Motors military discount on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles until June 30, 2015.

Home Depot

All veterans are eligible for Home Depot's 10 percent military discount on May 25 with a DoD-issued ID, a DD-214 or a veterans driver’s license. (This discount is good for veterans on July 4 and Veterans Day as well.)

Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites

In celebration of National Military Appreciation Month, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton are providing 15 percent off for all military through Aug. 13, 2016, for military members and their families to escape and enjoy an adventure together.

King's Dominion

King's Dominion is offering free park admission to any active, inactive or retired servicemembers May 23-25, 2015.

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm is offering active, veteran and retired military personnel complimentary admission during Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, and up to six tickets may be purchased for family and friends at a discounted rate.


Lowe's honors all veterans on Memorial Day (as well as July 4 and Veterans Day) with a 10 percent discount.

McCormick & Schmick’s

On Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, participating McCormick & Schmick’s locations will offer active-duty servicemembers, National Guard and veterans receive a complimentary lunch or dinner.

McDonald's Gives Back

For the entire month of May, McDonald’s of Hampton Roads and Northeast North Carolina will donate a portion of all sales of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese and the all new Artisan Chicken Sandwich Extra Value Meals to the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program (VWWP). Local residents are encouraged to visit their area McDonald’s to help make a difference in the Hampton Roads military community.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach celebrates Military Appreciation Days during the month of May with a full schedule of activities and events. Army veteran J. R. Martinez is Grand Marshal for the Military Appreciation Days parade on Saturday, May 16, which is also is Armed Forces Day. On May 16, there is a family picnic, which is free for all military and veterans along with their families.


Sears Tools is offering a double discount on tools (40 percent for regular priced, 10 percent for sale priced) from May 21 to May 31.

Shades of Green, Walt Disney World

Shades of Green, the military resort on Walt Disney World property, is running a room rate discount, with room rates based upon rank category. The Military Appreciation Special is available on standard rooms only, May 8-20, 2015. To make reservations, call (888) 593-2242.


Shoney's is serving a free All-American Burger to all active-duty military and veterans on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks will offer all military men and women a free menu item from their Military Appreciation Menu on Memorial Day, May 25, 2015.


Active-duty and veterans will receive a free regular admission ticket into Valleyfair. They can also purchase discount admission tickets for members of their immediate family.

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Statement from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald on Aurora VA Hospital

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald made the following statement regarding the apparent compromise legislation moving through Congress that would prevent a shutdown of the construction of the Denver Replacement Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado

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Memorial Day activities in Washington, D.C.

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National Vice Commander Jake Jacobs will represent The American Legion at two major Memorial Day events in Washington, D.C. on May 25. He will attend the National Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery and place a wreath in the afternoon at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Jacobs served in the U.S. Army from 1971 to 1974 and is a member of American Legion Post 5 in Torrington, Wyo. He is a former commander of the Legion’s Department of Wyoming.

The Arlington program begins at 10:30 with a musical prelude by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. At 11 a.m., a presidential Armed Forces full honor wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. An observance program will follow at the Memorial Amphitheater.

No tickets are needed to attend these events; the program is free and open to the general public. Free parking is available at the cemetery’s welcome center, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. A free shuttle service will provide transportation to the Amphitheater, starting at 8 a.m.

At the National Mall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ceremony - free and open to the public - begins at 1 p.m. Thousands of veterans and their families congregate at “The Wall” to remember and honor those servicemembers who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War and veterans who served in that war.

Nearly a dozen Medal of Honor recipients are expected to attend and the U.S. Postal Service will dedicate the 2015 Medal of Honor: Vietnam Forever® stamps as part of the ceremony.

The wreath-laying is also open to the public; Vice Commander Jacobs will place a wreath at The Wall for the Legion.

Other Memorial Day Weekend events in the nation’s capital include:

Saturday, May 23:

11 a.m.: Rolling Thunder visits the Navy Memorial in downtown D.C. and holds a wreath-laying ceremony, featuring special guests and live performances.

11 a.m.: Memorial Day Commemoration in Sharpsburg, Md. One of the oldest Memorial Day traditions in the United States will begin with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Sharpsburg Town Hall at 11 a.m., followed by the Annual Memorial Day Parade at 1:30 p.m.

May 23-25: The city of Rockville's Memorial Day event is a three-day street festival with live music, children's entertainment, a parade and more.

Sunday, May 24:

Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally: Departs from the Pentagon at noon. Speaker program and musical tribute starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Reflecting Pool across from the Lincoln Memorial. Thousands of motorcycles ride through Washington in an annual demonstration, seeking to improve veterans benefits and resolve POW/MIA issues.

8 p.m.: National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Gates open at 5 p.m. The National Symphony Orchestra will perform, with guest appearances by actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna.

8 p.m.: Concert at Wolf Trap National Park. The park for performing arts kicks off the summer season with a free performance by the U.S. Marine Band, followed by fireworks. The Filene Center gates open at 6:30 p.m. Arrive early because the park closes once capacity is reached.

Monday, May 25:

9 a.m.: The National Park Service and the Friends of the National World War II Memorial will sponsor a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of our veterans. Guest speakers are scheduled. The theme for the commemoration is "Honoring our Fallen Warriors." Many surviving WWII veterans will be in attendance.

10 a.m.: Fleet Reserve Association wreath-laying ceremony at the Navy Memorial in downtown Washington. Noon: U.S. Navy Band Concert. 1 p.m.: Naval District Washington wreath-laying ceremony.

1-7 p.m.: Alexandria Memorial Day Jazz Festival, Waterfront Park at 1 Prince Street, Alexandria, Va. The annual event features big band, swing, and contemporary jazz music. Picnics are allowed; food and beverages will also be for sale. In case of inclement weather, the festival will be at the Lee Center's Kauffman Auditorium, 1108 Jefferson St. Admission is free.

2 p.m.: The National Memorial Day Parade on Constitution Ave., between 7th and 17th streets. The parade includes floats, high school marching bands, veterans, service members, local and national celebrities, service organizations and clubs.

4 p.m.: The Women in Military Service for America Memorial, located at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, will hold a ceremony that includes formal military honors, a keynote address, wreath-laying ceremonies and the scattering of rose petals in tribute to departed comrades. Members of the public are invited to join in the personal tribute segment of the program.

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