Thosewho protect our freedomsto vote, to gather, to speak or to start a new business can enjoy many forms of gratitude this Veterans Day.

Those who protect our freedoms to vote, to gather, to speak or to start a new business can enjoy many forms of gratitude this Veterans Day.

Here's a short lineup:

COTA offers free fares on Friday to active and retired military who show a valid Veteran's Card to bus drivers.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomes veterans and immediate family members for free admission during Friday's Veterans Free Day at the Zoo. Maybe you can check out Cheetah cub Emmett and his sidekick Lab puppy Cullen while you're there!

Hungry veterans and military members in uniform or with their military ID can enjoy free You-Pick-Two meals at area Panera bread bakery-cafes on Friday. And City Barbeque has a free sandwich platter on the menu for veterans and active military members on Friday. City Barbeque CEO and founder Rick Malir also makes sure the restaurant does its duty by supporting Resurrecting Lives, which helps veterans dealing with PTSD, and Mission 22, which raises awareness of veteran suicide.

When Veterans Day festivities are done, veterans can learn how to leverage their military status to start a business in a day-long seminar Nov. 16 on "Credit and Funding Your Business Made Clear."

Veterans or not-early stage tech entrepreneurs looking for business backers could meet their future funder next week in an Airstream RV being pulled across America by investor Paul Singh in search of new investment opportunities. Singh's North American Tech Tour brings him to Columbus Nov. 13-18, in coordination with Lumos Innovation, a local tech accelerator.

Make sure to register by Veterans Day to learn what the Greater Columbus Arts Council and Columbus Museum of Art learned this summer in their arts public opinion and funding research. GCAC's 2016 Public Forum is free but registration is required to attend the evening event Nov. 15 at the Columbus College of Art & Design, hosted by CCAD President Melanie Corn.