A group of soldiers are walking down the street.

RI Veterans: Did you know? 16.11.23 (Army-Navy Game, Thanksgiving, events…) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on Veterans issues

Did you know the Army-Navy Game will be played at Gillette Stadium on December 9, 2023 ?

Did you know the Army-Navy Game is called America’s Game and the game played at Gillette Stadium in New England will be the first time in the 124-game series history?  

Did you know Rhode Island will host and house thousands of midshipmen at the R.I. Convention Center on Friday night before the game?

Did you know U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, West Point class of 1971 and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and former U.S. Rep. Ron Machtley, U.S. Naval Academy class of 1970, are serving as honorary chairmen of the Army/Navy Local Organizing Committee?

More history on the Army-Navy Game:

The first game between Army and Navy was on November 29, 1890.

Since 1890 the two academies have played annually with the exception of 5 years.

The game is normally played in Philadelphia.

Historically played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, however, the game is now played on the second Saturday of December and traditionally the last regular game played in NCAA Division 1 football. 

The game is the last of three contests in the annual Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series, awarded to each season’s winner of the triangular series among Army, Navy, and Air Force since 1972. 

Since 1901, there have been ten sitting presidents of the United States to attend the Army–Navy Game.:

·      The first was Theodore Roosevelt who attended the game in 1901 and 1905 , 

·      Harry Truman all but one during his 8 years in office (1945–1952), missing 1951 due to vacation. 

·      George W Bush and Donald Trump each attended 3 times; Bush in 2001, 2004, and 2008, and Trump in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Trump also attended a game as president  in 2016.

·      John F. Kennedy attended both games played during his presidency in 1961 and 1962 Presidents who each attended once include Woodrow Wilson(1913), Calvin Coolidge(1924), Gerald Ford (1974), Bill Clinton (1996), and Barack Obama (2011).

The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy will also be on the line during this year’s historic match-up.

Follow RINEWSTODAY for more coverage on the Army-Navy Game at Gillette Stadium on December 9, 2023. 


2003 Members of the 119th Military Police Company stationed in Baghdad, Iraq patiently and proudly display the 2 turkeys prepared for members of 119th MP Co on Thanksgiving. 

Photo by SFC John A Cianci

Free Thanksgiving Dinner for Veterans and Guest on Thanksgiving

For the second year, the Italian American War Veterans of US will be providing FREE Thanksgiving dinner for veterans, active duty members and their guest will on Thanksgiving Dinner at Perella’s Ristorante in Warren RI.

On Thanksgiving Day, all active duty and their immediate families are invited to enjoy a complimentary Thanksgiving for Your Service dinner from 12:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Perella’s Ristorante, Warren RI. 

Veterans are encouraged to call and make reservations for sittings at 12:00, 1:00, 3:00, 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. For reservations call the Italian American War Veterans of US office (401) 677-9838 or email, [email protected].  Although reservations are encouraged, they are not required. 

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner buffet with all the trimmings will be served. The menu includes:

  • Roast Turkey with Gravy*
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Whipped Mashed Potatoes
  • Roasted Garlic Potatoes
  • Candied Sweet Potatoes 
  • Traditional Stuffing
  • Italian Meat  Stuffing
  • Salad
  • Fresh Baked Dinner Rolls and Butter
  • Assorted Fresh Baked Holiday Pies

*Non-meat, cheese lasagna and eggplant parmigiana

Perella’s is closed on Thanksgiving, however, open for this private function to host Thanksgiving for Your Service, a tribute to our nation’s heroes.

“Louie Perella , owner of Perella’s Ristorante, openly welcomes the Italian American War Veterans of US use of the entire restaurant on Thanksgiving,” said John Cianci. “Additionally, he allows the veterans in Louie’s world—his kitchen”.

The meals are prepared by Veterans, along with volunteers from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut who will be assisting.

In addition, meals can be delivered on Thanksgiving throughout Rhode Island for those veterans and families who can not travel to Perella’s Ristorante. For delivery, the deadline is Wednesday by 6pm.

“We are encouraging all Rhode Islanders who might know a veteran who lives at home and more than likely will stay at home on Thanksgiving, call in the veterans address, and one of our volunteers will deliver a Thanksgiving Salute To Service meal to that address,” said Cianci.

“Last year we even cooked, packaged, and delivered complete family Thanksgiving Salute to Service dinners,” he added.

Last year donors, new donors, and volunteers are directly responsible for the 2nd annual Thanksgiving For Your Service dinner.



November 18, 2023, 5:30 – Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame dinner for 2023 honorees who will be recognized. open to the public. Venue is the Scottish Rite Center on Broad Street in Cranston (at the entrance to Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet.) Reception begins at 5:30PM, followed by dinner and the awards starting at 6:30. Tickets cost $65 each and can be purchased at

November 20, 2023, – Monday, VFW Post, 134 Shove Street, Tiverton, RI FREE luncheon for Veterans from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Italian American War Veterans of the US and Building Bridges.

November 23, 2023 (Thanksgiving) – Free Thanksgiving Dinner for veterans and guest, or veteran. Spouse, and dependents, Perella’s Ristorante, 311 Metacom Ave, Warren RI. FREE Thanksgiving Dinner for Veterans at Perella’s Ristorante sponsored by Italian American War Veterans of the US /Department of Rhode Island. can start making reservations by email [email protected] or phone (401) 677-9838 (DO NOT CALL PERELLA’s). Space availability will allow non-veterans to make reservations. Raffles, donations, and silent auction will benefit ITAM Recreational and Transportation Fund. MORE INFO TO FOLLOW. Transportation for Veterans from Veterans Home is AVAILABLE by ITAM. Donations are welcomed, check made out to ITAM ( note Thanksgiving in the remarks): mail to ITAM , 18 Winchester Ave, North Smithfield, RI 02896.Volunteers are welcomed, contact ITAM, (401) 677-9838.

December 2, 2023 (Saturday) – Comedy Show and Italian Buffet Dinner (Veal/Chicken Parmigiana /pasta/salad, dessert. Dinner fundraiser for ITAM Rhode Island Veterans Relief and Recreational Fund, VFW, Shove Street, Tiverton RI. Tickets $40, doors open at 6 p.m. Tables of 8 available for $200 to groups. For tickets contact the Italian American War Veterans of US, (401) 677-9838.



Free Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for 100% Disabled Veterans: A Veteran who has a 100% disability rating from the VA is eligible for free Rhode Island hunting and fishing licenses.

No cost licenses are available if you are:  over 65 AND a Rhode Island resident – a veteran with 100% disability status from the Department of Veterans Affairs – a person with 100% total disability status from the Social Security Administration

To apply in person at DEM, please bring a photo ID and an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (directions)

To apply by mail, please complete an application and mail the application and a copy of your photo ID and the ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Please allow two weeks for processing.

The address to obtain your license in person or by mail is:
DEM Licensing Office – 235 Promenade Street, Room 360 – Providence, RI 02908 – (401) 222-3576

To purchase online, you will be required to certify that you have an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). You will also be required to enter the date the decision expires. The Department will audit compliance with the certification and may, at any time, request a copy of the current DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Failure to submit the documentation by the date requested may result in the suspension of your fishing and hunting license. Also, Rhode Island General Law 11-18-1 prohibits giving false documents to an agent, employee, or public official. The penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to one year.

Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Benefits for Service Members and Veterans: Rhode Island offers several hunting and fishing benefits to Service members and Veterans. A short description of each is listed below. Applicants are required to show documentationDept of Environmental Management logo proving eligibility when they apply:

· Active-Duty Service members – Military ID

· Veterans – DD214

· Disabled Veterans – VA Disability Certification Letter, contact your VA office

Applicants can apply online at Rhode Island Outdoors, in person at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Office of Boating Registration and Licenses in Providence (Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.), at an Authorized In-Person Sales Agent, or they can mail applications to:

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management – 235 Promenade Street, Room 360 – Providence, RI 02908 – 401-222-3576

Learn more about FREE Rhode Island Hunting , Fishing, State Parks, and Golf  Benefits for Service Members and Veterans,that%20issued%20the%20disability%20decision.

Free Rhode Island State Park Passes for 100% Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island offers the State Park Disability Pass for use at any state-owned recreational facility to disabled Veterans who have a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA.

RI state parks logoThe State Park Disability Pass authorizes free admission and parking but does not exempt the following:

· Licensing fees

· Camping fees

· Picnic table fees

· Specialized facility use fees

· Use of equestrian areas

· Performing art centers

· Game fields fees

· Mule shed fees

If the disabled Veteran cannot drive, the vehicle transporting the Veteran will not be charged.

Veterans must apply in person at the Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters and are required to show official documentation (dated within the past year) from the VA that states they have a 100% service-connected disability.

Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters – 1100 Tower Hill Road – North Kingstown, RI -02852 – 401-667-6200 – Email: [email protected]


Resources & ongoing groups 

Below are all the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time! 

***All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at [email protected]*** 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May) 

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. 

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

Stress Management – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. 

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm. 


No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC:  15% military discount, ask for Ron Gaynor, (401) 568-6666. Veterans must provide proof of eligibility with a VA Card, VA ID Card, or RI State license with veteran identification. 


Applebee’s – Military Discount. With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty. Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021 

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID 


Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021 

Bass Pro Shops – Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source). 

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021 

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount – “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe. 

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through 

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer. 

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type. 

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! – We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 10% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at 3 select locations: Tioque Ave, Coventry RI – Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI – Park Ave, Cranston RI 

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get – 

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account. 

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly. 

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout. 

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21. 


If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward to: [email protected]:  the business’s name, location, and military and veteran discount offered. 

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, [email protected], ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838) 


To read all columns in this series go to:  

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.


  1. LTC Anthony Desmarais (US Army Retired) on November 22, 2023 at 3:35 pm

    Many thanks to RI News for publishing this article. This breakdown will go a long way in keeping Vets informed on upcoming events and other benefits that can be accessed.

  2. Bill Gearon on November 16, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you RI News Today for the informative article on upcoming Veteran events during this holiday season. Your writer, John Cianci, in his column, enables us all to plan our holiday season with events and benefits that so many veterans are unaware of.