Today on Veteran’s Day 7-Eleven is saluting active, veteran and retired U.S. military personnel and their families with free, small Slurpees between 11 am and 7 pm. Qualifying customers will just need to present proof of current or former U.S. military service during those hours to receive a free Slurpee drink. Accompanying family members also will receive the free beverage.

If you think that's just a publicity gimmick, you'd be wrong.
The slurpee giveaway is the centerpiece of the month-long "Operation: Thank You" campaign, which enlists 7-Eleven customers to show their support for U.S. troops by adding a $1 donation to the USO (United Service Organizations) when they check out at participating 7-Eleven stores. Donated funds will go toward USO care packages given to U.S. troops serving overseas. Each care package includes products like beef jerky, trail mix, toiletries and an AT&T phone card.

“November has two very important American holidays — Veterans Day and Thanksgiving,” said Joe DePinto, 7-Eleven CEO and West Point graduate who served as an officer in the U.S. Army, in a press release. “And with this year's Veterans Day falling on 11/11/11, the timing seemed perfect to say thank-you to the men and women serving our great country. For those who are here, we can say thank-you with a free Slurpee. For those serving, we hope to raise enough funds to help the USO distribute 40,000 care packages.”

For each $1 contribution, 7-Eleven customers will receive a USO thank-you card to post at the store. The card has a space to add the name of a friend or family member who is serving or has served in the military, and a tear-off coupon for a free glazed donut or taquito (depending on where the store is located) with the purchase of any size cup of coffee. Coupons can be redeemed between Nov. 21 and Dec. 31, 2011.

Thank you Mr. DePinto and 7-11 for a worthwhile effort. Those care packages are greatly appreciated and boost morale.

While we're on the subject, you may want to contact your representative in Congress and ask him or her why they should reap the benefit of free postage when the families of our men and women in service must pay postage to send care packages to their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, who risk their lives in service to the U.S. That ain't right.