Veterans Day: 6 Ways to Commemorate and Honor Veterans
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November 11, Veterans Day, is a national holiday to honor people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Try these suggested activities to help your kids understand the significance of this day.
Learn how Veterans Day was established: Help your kids learn how the present Veterans Day came about. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, a year after the World War I armistice (an armistice being an agreement to stop fighting for a certain period of time) went into effect, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. It was not a national holiday until Congress passed a resolution in 1926. If you have older children, they may be interested in learning more in depth about the creation of Veterans Day, and its historical importance.
Find out more about the American flag: On national days, such as Veterans Day, many people display the American flag. Learn more about the flag, the meaning of the number of stars and stripes and the colors. If you have a flag of any size, work with your kids to determine where would be a good place to display the American flag on Veterans Day—porch, balcony, front or back yard.
Reading and Writing
Read about our veterans: Although kids might not understand all of the historical meaning behind Veterans Day, books about bravery, the military, and some past conflicts can be resources to facilitate comprehension. Older kids may be interested in feeling a connection with those who have served by checking out the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
Write a note of appreciation: With your kids check out any programs, like the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes, that distribute cards and letters to those who have served or are currently in the military. Writing a note of gratitude may help your kids understand the concept of appreciation.
Listen to Armed Forces music: You and your kids can learn about the official songs of the various Armed Services, by playing each of them. After listening to the music, ask your kids how it makes them feel—energized or patriotic, for example.
Make a mini-monument: Let your kids know that one way of remembering those who served is with the construction of a monument. See if they would like to build their own miniature monument out of simple supplies. Suggest to them that they can associate a particular meaning with the different parts of their mini-monument; for example, if they use paper towel rolls for columns, each column can represent a different part of the Armed Forces.
These are a few ideas for the many activities you can enjoy with your kids while instilling a greater appreciation for our nation’s history and those who have served.
This feature is based on a blog post that originally appeared on free.ed.gov, a site that is now retired. Please visit ed.gov/FREE for more information.
Last Modified: 12/01/2015