Veterans Day
November 11th

Veterans Day is a national holiday honoring all those who have served in the U.S. military. Veterans Day was once called Armistice Day and began on November 11, 1918, to commemorate the armistice of the “War to End All Wars,” or World War I.  President Wilson remarked how he thought the day should be remembered with these words:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The original concept for the celebration of Armistice Day was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.

In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday. In June of 1954 Armistice Day became a day to honor American veterans of all wars and was renamed Veterans Day.  However, the date was changed to a Monday in the same way as Washington’s Birthday and Columbus Day. Then in 1977, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 that, beginning in 1978, returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11. In signing the legislation, Ford stated that his action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations, and the American people.

With war in Iraq, and recent natural disasters in which military personnel have participated with such effectiveness, it is important for the school community to recognize the sacrifices that soldiers, their families, and military support people have made to keep America and the rest of the world free and safe. Veterans Day offers many opportunities for learning. The following websites and pieces of children’s literature were selected to support teachers and school leaders in this effort.

Web Resources and Lessons

Veterans Day: Department of Veterans Affairs
This site has a wealth of information including a photo gallery, information about Veterans Day history, and a FAQ sheet.  The educational resources include Lessons of Liberty that connect students to the broader idea of citizenship and include a printable Teacher Resource Guide with lessons and activities for grades 4-7 or 8-12.

USS Liberty: November 11-Veterans Day-Remembrance Day-Armistice Day
This site links to many resources about veterans and Veterans Day in both the U.S. in other countries.

Veterans History Project
This national oral history project coordinated through the Library of Congress involves preserving the historical record with personal narrative, correspondence, and visual materials. The primary focus has been on first-hand accounts of veterans of 20th century wars.   See and hear a wealth of recorded audio and visual interviews.

Patriotic Fact Sheet
Here is information about many of America's national customs related to the military such as the Story of Taps and the Flower of Remembrance.

Memoir of a Civilian POW: Example of a Local Oral History Project
This oral history project done several years ago here at SCORE History-Social Science is an example of what students might do to commemorate Veterans Day.

Veterans Day Crafts, Projects, Worksheets, Books, and Printouts
This Enchanted Learning website has resources and activities for teaching about Veterans Day to young children.

Children’s Literature

Ansary, Mir Tamim. Veterans Day (Holiday Histories). Heinemann, 2001.

Ashabranner , Brent. Always to Remember: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Scholastic, 1992.

Ashabranner, Brent. Remembering Korea: Korean War. 21st Century, 2001.

Ashabranner, Brent. Their Names To Live By. 21st Century, 1998.

Brill, Marlene Targ. Veterans Day (On My Own, Holidays). First Avenue Editions, 2005.  (also in Spanish)

Bunting, Eve. The Wall. Clarion Books, 1992.

Cotton, Jacqueline S. Veterans Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays). Children's Press, 2002.

De Capua, Sarah. The Vietnam Memorial (Cornerstones of Freedom). Children's Press, 2003.

Ferry, Joseph. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (American Symbols & Their Meanings). Mason Crest Publishers, 2002.

Henry, Heather French. Pepper's Purple Heart: A Veterans Day Story. Cubbie Blue Publishing, 2003.

Kaplan, Leslie C. Veterans Day (The Library of Holidays). PowerKids Press, 2004.

Landau, Elaine. Veterans Day: Remembering Our War Heroes (Finding Out About Holidays). Enslow Elementary, 2002.

Nelson, Robin. Veterans Day (First Step Nonfiction). Lerner Publications, 2005.

Peter, James S. The Saga of Black Navy Veterans of World War II. International Scholars Press, 1996.

Rosinsky, Natalie. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (We the People). Compass Point Books, 2006.

Sevastiades, Patra McSharry. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Library of American Landmarks). PowerKids Press, 1994.

Stein, Conrad. The Korean War Veterans Memorial (Cornerstones of Freedom). Children's Press, 2002.

Schuch, Marci C. Veterans Day (Pebble Books). Capstone Press, 2003.

Worsley, Arlene. Veterans Day (American Holidays). Weigl Publishers, 2006.