World War Cemeteries and Monuments: 5 Ways to Help Older Kids Understand the Significance
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This feature is written by guest author Sarah Herrmann, Digital Communications Manager, American Battle Monuments Commission.
May is a month filled with opportunities to promote older kids’ understanding of the World Wars, and the relevance of America’s overseas cemeteries and monuments. The month begins with the World War II anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) on May 8, and, at the end of the month, we honor our military fallen with Memorial Day weekend. More than 20 million Americans served in uniform during these two epic wars of the 20th Century. More than 500,000 of those Americans gave their lives in these wars.
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), an agency of the federal government that manages all of America’s overseas cemeteries, offers resources that create a greater understanding of these wars, and fosters a deeper appreciation for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. You can help older kids remember that sacrifice and understand the significance of World War I and World War II to the modern world today, with activities, such as these suggested below.
- Forge a connection with the largest American battle of World War I: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I proved to be one of the costliest and deadliest battles ever to be experienced by American forces. Resources are available that tell the story of the American experience using image analysis, narrative inquiry, symbolism, and more. Topic examples include:
- The African-America experience during the Great War
- The world’s first industrial war
- The individual soldier experience in the trenches
- Create an understanding of who the young men and women were who sacrificed their lives: Mostly young adults in their late teens to early 20s, these men and women left behind parents, siblings, and, in some cases, spouses and children. They grew up in cities and on farms. They lived normal lives, but gave it all up while serving their country. Hear family members remember their lost loved ones during these video interviews:
- Never Forgotten: The Story of Lt. Murray M. Blum
- Never Forgotten: The Story of Capt. Robert B. Conlon
- Never Forgotten: The Story of 1st Lt. Glenn U. Brooks, Jr.
- Experience ABMC’s overseas military cemeteries: More than 200,000 Americans are buried or memorialized overseas from World War I and World War II. Free smartphone apps for both iPhone and Android devices that explore these hallowed grounds from World War I and World War II are available:
- Normandy American Cemetery for iPhone
- Normandy American Cemetery for Android
- Cambridge American Cemetery for iPhone
- Cambridge American Cemetery for Android
- Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery for iPhone
- Find soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen from your home state buried overseas: ABMC’s online database includes the names of more than 200,000 Americans buried or memorialized overseas:
- Search by last name, state, date of death, or service
- Share results via email or social media
- Better understand America’s involvement in World War I and World War II: Interactive timelines and battle maps explain where and how American forces fought during these wars.
- The Great War: A Visual History
- World War II: A Visual History
- The Strategic Bombing Campaign of World War II
- Entering Italy: The Naples-Foggia Campaign of World War II
- The Battle of Pointe du Hoc
Established in 1923 by Congress, ABMC is a U.S. government agency charged with commemorating the service, achievements and sacrifice of the U.S. Armed Forces where they have served overseas since 1917. ABMC administers our nation’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and federal memorials. For more information visit www.abmc.gov, or connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
This feature is based on blog posts 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