I have several relatives who have served in various branches of the military. I also have friends who have served or currently are on active duty. Protecting the rest of us is a unique calling—and it is not easy! So I love that we have set aside certain days to honor military men, women, and veterans—and their loved ones.

Read on for ideas to save and celebrate this May 16th, which is Armed Forces Day 2015.

About Armed Forces Day

May annually is National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM).

Today, Armed Forces Day is one of six additional May events designed to honor military, veterans and their families, including the best-known national holiday, Memorial Day. Armed Forces Day was officially created in 1949 by Presidential proclamation.

  • May 1st: Loyalty Day.
  • May 3rd – 9th: Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW)
  • May 8th: Military Spouse Appreciation Day
  • May 9th: Victory in Europe Day (VE Day)
  • May 16th: Armed Forces Day
  • May 25th: Memorial Day

A variety of free nationwide community events have been planned all throughout the month of May. You can check the website to find local events in your community and post your own.

Local events, discounts and freebies

In many communities, it has become a tradition to celebrate NMAM and Armed Forces Day with parades, talks at local libraries and civic centers, free entry to local parks and museums, and discounts aplenty for military and veterans at local eateries and centers of entertainment.

To find discounts, freebies, and events in your area, visit your city events website.

13 Discounts and freebies

Some of these discounts go on all year long. Others are just for the month of May. A few are just for May 16th, but most of the day-only deals will be those happening just in your local community.

1. Free greeting cards

123Greetings has loads of free greeting cards you can send to a serviceperson or veteran to say "thank you!"

2. Here's to the Heroes free theme park admission.

Active duty military or reservists, veterans, and national Guardsmen get free admission to a select group of theme parks through Waves of Honor, a program sponsored by Seaworld/Busch Gardens.

3. Bluestar Families free museum and theater admission.

Get free admission to a select group of nationwide museums and theaters, courtesy of Blue Star Families, an organization dedicated to strengthening military families.

4. Operation Love Reunited free photography session.

If you’ve recently been reunited with a loved one who is in the military (or you anticipate this happy event happening shortly) you can apply to get a free photo session documenting your reunion.

5. Apply for grants for military kids to enroll free in camps and other fun activities.

Our Military Kids is an organization dedicated to helping ease the stress kids can feel when separated from military parents. They do this by issuing grants to allow military kids opportunities to receive tutoring, enroll in fine arts or sports programs, or attend camps free of charge.

6. Get free tutoring for military kids.

If you or your partner is in the military, your kids are eligible for free tutoring from Tutor.com!

7. Get into Disney at a discount through the Armed Forces Salute.

Disney Land and Disney World both offer a special discount to military personnel and veterans. The discount is half-off the regular ticket price. You can also get discounts of 30-40% off rooms at Disney resort hotels.

8. Free entree at Tommy Bahamas.

If you’re active duty military or a veteran and you eat at Tommy Bahamas on Armed Forces Day, you can get one entrée free.

9. Get 10% off all during the month of May at Boston Market.

Active duty and retired military get 10% off their meal all month long at Boston Market.

10. Join or renew your Sam's Club membership and get a $15 gift card free.

Just bring your military ID with you when you go to register or renew.

11. Join Costco and get $50 in savings.

Here, basically you pay $5 for an Executive Membership to Costco—a pretty great deal!

12. Get 15% off when you stay at Hampton Inn.

Just show your military ID and get an automatic room rate reduction.

13. Get a discount at General Motors.

You can get discounts and even combine various offers to lower the price for a new GM car.

13 Tips to Save and Celebrate on Armed Forces Day