12 Ways to Help Your Children Honor Veterans
As a mom, I never thought much about Veteran’s Day until after I’d started interviewing World War II veterans for a novel I was writing. Yet as November neared I knew I wanted my children to have the same privilege I did in getting to know the men and women who served our country. When Veteran’s Day arrived we pulled out paper and markers and worked on posters. “Thank you for your service” and “Happy Veteran’s Day,” we wrote.
We got in the car and drove to the local Veteran’s Day ceremony. I was saddened to see that we were the only young family present. My kids held their posters as we listened to the speech, watched the 21-gun salute, and teared up as the bugler played Taps.
We’d planned on approaching some of the veterans after the ceremony, but they were the ones who approached us.
“Thank you for coming.”
“I like your posters.”
“Can I get my photo taken with you?” they asked.
Smiling veterans posed with my kids as their gray-haired wives snapped photographs.
I realized then how much us being there meant to these veterans, and after that I started considering what more we could do. Below is a list of 12 ways you can help your children honor veterans. Some of them I’ve done with my older children. The rest of the list are things I’m planning on doing once my toddler gets older.
1. Interview a veteran. Ask a family member, neighbor or friend from church to share his or her story. Use a video camera or digital audio recorder if you have one. Here are a few questions to get you started:
:: What branch of service were you in? What type of work did you perform?
:: Tell me about a couple of your most memorable experiences.
:: What is one of the hardest things you faced?
:: What was it like to come home?
:: Anything else you want to share?
2. If you have older kids, have them do a more formal interview and submit it to the Library of Congress through the Veteran’s History Project.
3. Watch the short films Der Fuehrer’s Face and Donald Duck Army Ranger produced by Disney and discuss World War II.