RI Veterans: Did you know? (Memorial Day) – 26 May 22 – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Did you know Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May?

Did you know after the Civil War, in 1868, an organization of Union veterans established the holiday, then known as Decoration Day, as a time to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers? 

Did you know at 3 p.m. local time on Monday you can take part in the National Moment of Remembrance? This observation, which formally began in the year 2000, calls Americans to voluntarily, and informally, take a moment of silence at 3 p.m. and reflect in their own way.

Memorial Day Meaning and Memorial Day History

Memorial Day commemorates all men and women who have diedin U.S. military service and veterans who have died after serving their country. 

Memorial Day reminds us that freedom comes at a cost.

Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, who headed a group for Union veterans, declared in 1868 that Decoration Day would be observed on May 30. According to a Memorial Day history from the Department of Veterans Affairs, after World War I the holiday was broadened to include service members who died in all of the country’s wars, not just the Civil War.

Multiple cities claim to be the birthplace of the holiday, but President Lyndon Johnson formally gave the honor to Waterloo, N.Y., in 1966. An act of Congress in 1971 switched the observance to the last Monday in May, the VA notes.

Throughout the state, veteran and private organizations volunteer to replace an estimated 60,000 flags at private cemeteries provided by Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services.

However, due to alleged supply issues with the first vendor awarded the contract for the estimated 60,000 flags, replacement of mutilated, torn and/or worn grave flags almost did not happen this year.

VETTIP: Any of our readers who become aware of a veteran’s headstone or marker at a private cemetery without a U.S flag, or a flag that needs to be replaced, email the Italian American War Veterans of the U.S.(ITAM) at Be sure to include the cemetery, location of the cemetery, name of the veteran, and location of the veteran’s headstone or marker. ITAM will reach out to volunteers who have taken on the responsibility to ensure flags are placed or replaced.

Dos and Don’ts of Memorial Day

Do not confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day, which celebrates the service of U.S. military veterans, or with Armed Forces Day, which honors men and women currently in service. 

Don’t say ‘Thank You for Your Service’ this Monday to a veteran.

Don’t say ‘Happy Memorial Day’ this Monday to a veteran.

“I hope you’re having a meaningful day,” might be one of the better things to say to a veteran this Monday.

Do set a reminder to go off at 3 p.m. local time so you can take part in the National Moment of Remembrance. This observation, which formally began in the year 2000, calls Americans to observe a moment of silence and reflect in their own way.

Like my brothers and sisters, Memorial Day is a day for admiration towards those that made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Memorial Day means more than just honoring those who died for their country on that day, to me, it should be a reminder that we should appreciate these people every single day of our lives. We should remember that every single day we go to school, or go to work, that someone out there fought so that we could have normal lives. 

Memorial Day isn’t just “a day” for recognizing someone’s sacrifices but rather cherishing their memory every day for the rest of our lives because they have certainly earned that respect.



May 27-30, Fort Adams, Friday – Sunday, Boots on The Ground for Heroes Memorial. Open to the public from 8:00-8:00pm, Memorial Day 8:00-6:00pm. Saturday May 28th from 5-6pm Patriotic Concert featuring the 88th Army Band, Rhode Island National Guard. 

May 30, 1030-11AM, Stower Park, Newport. VFW Post 406 Newport invites veterans and the general public to Strewing of Flowers, The ceremony honors and remembers US service members lost at sea.

June 4th, from 0700-1300, Vet Surf will be hosting their first Surfing event of the year at Narragansett Town Beach. This event is 100% Free and all Equipment is provided by the Vet Surf Team. No Experience is Necessary! If you are interested in learning to surf with your fellow Service Members/Veterans, please go to and select the Participants tab to sign up! If you have any questions, you can reach me at or via phone at (401) 739-0167.

June 11, 2022, Aspen Dental to provide free dental care to military veterans nationwide.

According to an Aspen Dental news release in May 2922Aspen Dental announced its annual Day of Service event – which provides free care to military veterans across the country – will be held on Saturday, June 11. Now in its eighth year, nearly 500 Aspen Dental locations will open their doors on the company’s annual Day of Service to provide much-needed dental care for United States military veterans at no cost to honor their service.

“At Aspen Dental, we’re committed to breaking down barriers to care – especially for our nation’s veterans, who have given so much to all of us,” said Arwinder Judge, DDS, a chief clinical officer at Aspen Dental. “Day of Service is a powerful opportunity for Aspen Dental care teams across the entire country to make a difference in the lives of veterans and connect them with the care they often desperately need.” Since 2014, doctors and their dental care teams from Aspen Dental offices across the country have donated more than $23 million in dentistry services to more than 30,000 the United States military veterans and people in need through the company’s Healthy Mouth Movement.

Millions of Americans struggle to access dental care every year, and military veterans are no exception – in fact, veterans are ineligible for dental benefits through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs unless they’re 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury, or were a prisoner of war. Many Americans have experienced additional oral care challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as dentists report increasing amounts of teeth-grinding, cavities, and gum disease, largely attributed to pandemic-related stress and changes in health habits.

How Veterans Can Schedule an Appointment
Starting today, veterans can call 1-844-277-3646 (1-844-ASPENHMM) to find a participating Aspen Dental office in their community and schedule an appointment. Advance appointments are required.

During the Day of Service, Aspen Dental doctors and their dental care teams focus on treating the most urgent dental needs to help get veterans out of pain, from fillings and extractions to hygiene and basic denture repairs.

For more information about Day of Service and the Healthy Mouth Movement, visit

August 6 Free Fishing Trip for combat veterans. More information regarding the event can be found on Facebook @tightlinesforvet or by emailing Stephen,

AARP offers a free career center for veterans, . The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage,  job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment. 

Providence Vet Center  

Below are all of 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 ***

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 – 4:00pm.




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 veterans. Last verified 07/31/2028

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 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).

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.


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 15% 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 select locations listed below:

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  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,, 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, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, 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.

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