by Kelley Jilek
Veterans Day was established to honor Americans who had served in World War I. It falls on November 11, the day when that war ended in 1918, but it now honors veterans of all wars in which the United States has fought, as well as those who are currently serving in our military. If you would like to honor the day with your children, we offer a few suggestions to help your children understand the importance of Veterans Day.
Veterans serve in all careers. They include teachers, family, friends, business people, and people you pass on the street. They may or may not wear uniforms. On a daily basis, children learn from our actions. When you see or pass a veteran, consider saying, “thank you” to him or her. After you have passed them, allow a little time to talk with your child and let him know the reason(s) you thanked the person you passed. Here is a list of 4 ways you can honor Veterans with your preschoolers:
- Many veterans serve in areas away from their friends and family. Encourage your children to make a card for a veteran. Explain the purpose of the card (thanking the veteran for their service or just wishing them a good day) and allow the children to ask questions, answering the best you can. You can mail the cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
- Attend a local ceremony, parade, or program honoring veterans if it is age-appropriate. Discuss what the children saw and what they might have learned from the event.
- Contact your local veterans hospital to see if it would be appropriate to visit and provide company for healing patients.
- Offer books about Veterans Day from the list below or ask your local librarian for further suggestions. Be sure to screen suggested books to make sure they support your beliefs before sharing them with children.
Pepper’s Purple Heart by Heather French Henry
The Wall by Eve Bunting
The Poppy Lady by Barbara Walsh
Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood by Valerie Pfundstein
A Tale of Two Heroes by Jody Davids