Grand Ole Opry
America Supports You:
Brewery Offers Theme Park Admission
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2005 -- Dan
Hartman's "Free Ride" could be the theme song to
the Anheuser-Busch Company's latest offer to the military.
This month, the brewery
announced that once again it will open the gates to its
SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place theme parks for
free as a way of saying thanks to servicemembers and their
The company's latest
promotion, dubbed "Here's to the Heroes," offers
a free single-day admission to servicemembers, including
Guardsmen and Reservists, and as many as three
"direct dependents," according to Fred Jacobs,
senior director for communications at Busch Entertainment
The offer runs through Dec.
The company has held four
similar free-admission programs since the first Gulf War:
Yellow Ribbon Summer, Salute to America's Heroes,
Operation Salute, and last year's Operation Homecoming.
Jacobs said, "These
programs were conceived to acknowledge the men and women
who serve our country and preserve freedom and security
for every American."
"We benefit only from
the sense of satisfaction that our employees across the
country get from saying, "Thank you" to our
soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast
Jacobs said the company
decided on the name "Here's to the Heroes"
because, "That is exactly how we view those Americans
who have chosen to serve in the armed forces."
Eligible servicemembers can
register for free admission online or in the entrance
plaza of participating parks, Jacobs said. A Department of
Defense photo ID must be presented at the gate before
entrance, he added.
Military family members
also can take advantage of the offer without their
military sponsor; however, an adult must accompany minor
Jacobs said the company
estimates that more than 1 million servicemembers and
their families will visit its parks during the offer, and
that nearly 100,000 people have registered already.
The Busch Gardens theme
park in Williamsburg, Va.; SeaWorld in San Antonio; and
Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa.; are seasonal operations
that open in the spring. The company's SeaWorld Orlando
and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, both in Florida, and SeaWorld
San Diego, are open year-round.
The company has received
"thousands of e-mails, phone calls and letters
thanking us for recognizing the service and sacrifice of
our armed forces," Jacobs said.
"I have had the
privilege of responding to many of those notes, and I can
tell you from personal experience how gratifying it
is," he added.
Anheuser-Busch has a long
tradition of supporting the military. In 1921, Lilly
Busch, the widow of company founder Adolphus Busch, opened
the Busch family garden to the public, donating admission
fees to disabled veterans. And over the years the company
has supported veterans memorials in Washington, such as
the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial. The company has also provided scholarship funds
for United Service Organizations members and Desert Storm
In 2003, the company
created the Intrepid/Anheuser-Busch Fallen Heroes Fund,
donating $1 million in scholarships for spouses and
children of servicemembers and coalition personnel killed
during the war in Iraq.
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