In this Sept. 27, 2013 photo, World War II veterans from the 57th Bomb Wing are reflected in the stone memorial to the wing during a reunion outside the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio. As many as 11,000 people served in the 57th that flew missions over German-held Europe from North Africa and the island of Corsica during most of the war. Hundreds survive, according to wing historians and reunion organizers. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
As the nation on Monday prepares to honor those who have served in the country's armed forces, Philadelphia has a full roster of events to honor local active-duty military personnel and veterans.
Many museums and historic sites are getting in on the act:
- Independence Hall, located at 520 Chestnut St., will offer ticket-free tours all day, while Camden's Adventure Aquarium will admit military personnel and their families at a discounted admission of $10 per person for up to four people.
- The Independence Seaport Museum, located at 211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., is offering free admission for veterans, guided tours of Spanish American War-era ship the USS Olympia and an 11 a.m. memorial ceremony in front of the USS Becuna.
- The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St., is offering free admission for veterans and $5 admission for all other attendees. Festivities include flag raising and lowering ceremonies, a flag etiquette workshop, a thank-a-vet letter writing station and a wreath-laying ceremony. The center will host talks led by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Thomas Kelly, who has for years documented A Hero's Welcome program, which organizes celebrations for veterans returning from deployment.
- Admission is also free to The Joe Bonham Project, housed at the New College Building at the Drexel University College of Medicine. The exhibition features 40-plus portraits of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans in recovery.
The city will further be honoring military members at its numerous war memorials:
- The Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission will from 10 to 11 a.m. hold a ceremony at Washington Square's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Separate ceremonies kick off at the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam Veteran Memorial at 11 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m., respectively.
- The Veterans Multi-Service Center, located at 213 N. Fourth St., will from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. honor homeless veterans with events including a Jazz Sanctuary performance at 10 a.m. and a book launch at 11:30 a.m.
- The NAACP Philadelphia branch will from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. honor 200 military personnel during its third annual Veterans Day awards luncheon at The First District Plaza, located at 3801 Market St.
A number of officials, including Congressman Bob Brady, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, and representatives of supportive housing organization HELP USA, will commemorate the day with a noon press conference and barbeque at 6100 Eastwick Ave. There, they will announce plans for the new Hardy Wiliams Veterans Center, which will include 61 permanent housing units for veterans and is slated for completion in 2014.
There also are plenty of places veterans can enjoy free or discounted meals Monday. Krispy Kreme is offering vets a free doughnut and small coffee. Starbucks is doling out free tall coffees. The Olive Garden, Chili's and Applebees are all offering military personnel free entrees, while Denny's is from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. giving away stacks of all-you-can-eat pancakes to both active duty and retired service men and women.