“We celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” – Military.com
Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11th. This day has long been recognized as a federal holiday, but truly one that I knew little about until recently. Sure, I had a general idea based on the name, but I couldn’t have told you in any detail why we celebrate Veterans Day. So, the life-long learner in me took over, and I went to work investigating Veterans Day. I share some of my findings with you here in case you’d like to learn more AND because I am hopeful you will share this information with your students.
Veterans Day provides an opportunity for Americans to come together, united in respect for those who have served to protect our nation and our individual rights and freedoms. And while we may recognize it and even celebrate it, there may be a few things about Veterans Day some of us don’t know…
Did You Know?
- Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day because World War I ended with the signing of the Armistice Agreement. It was named Armistice Day to honor the heroism displayed by those who served in World War I.
- The date of Veterans Day, November 11th, is significant. The signing of the Armistice Agreement took place on “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” marking the end of World War I.
- Eventually, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day to include all veterans having served in all wars.
- Veterans Day is often confused with Memorial Day; however, Memorial Day is a day we remember individuals who have given their life, the ultimate sacrifice, in service to their country or due to battle-sustained injuries. In contrast, Veterans Day is about thanking living veterans who served honorably at any time–wartime or peacetime.
Perhaps you knew some of the facts above, or like me, had heard snippets of them in passing over the years. Realizing I lacked knowledge about the purpose of Veterans Day caused me to pause and reflect. Why didn’t I know more?
As Americans, we should know the history of Veterans Day not only to recognize it ourselves, but to make certain our youth understand its significance. Doing so ensures Americans will continue to recognize and celebrate this day in a united way to honor those among us who have sacrificed through service. We must teach students about Veterans Day and model the respect we want our students to display toward Veterans.
Not sure how to tie Veterans Day into your curricular goals or learning objectives? Veterans Day gives educators a chance to teach about several topics through this important holiday. Here are a few examples:
- The value – and price – of freedom
- The importance of respect
- Examples/models of how to honor others
- Military career exploration
- Vocabulary terms like patriotism, unity, armistice, and veteran
- Respect for the United States Flag
- Letter Writing
- Symbolism in Monuments
Still not sure how to get started? Plan with a colleague! Veterans Day is a great reason to engage in interdisciplinary planning, too. It is a wonderful time for a lesson that connects language arts reading to a social studies unit, a geography unit to a science lesson, and a leadership elective to a physical education course. Your public speaking class may find an opportunity to speak during announcements or morning assembly. Plan and invite a guest speaker to share a personal story of service with your students.
To jumpstart your lesson planning for Veterans Day, we’ve created a HyperDoc lesson plan template with Veterans Day examples. Give it a try today by simply clicking on the link below, making a copy as asked, and then following the directions in the template to customize the lesson and make it your own.
Pro Tip: You can use this template to teach about holidays or other topics altogether. You can also personalize the content to be age/grade level appropriate and/or interest based. Feel free to rearrange the order of the lesson or add to it as you see fit.
Want to learn more about using HyperDocs in your teaching? Download our Hyperdoc Tip Sheet.