According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the very first observance of Veterans Day as a national holiday was signed into effect by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The proclamation stated that," In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose" as quoted from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website. November 11th marks the national date for honoring veterans who served in all wars. A national ceremony is held every year at Arlington National Cemetery to show respect for all soldiers.
The first time that the United States decided to recognize veterans came after World War I. The day was originally called Armistice Day and was celebrated on November 11 (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month). On June 1, 1954, the United States government changed the official name to Veterans Day to honor all soldiers who served in the armed forces. After many revisions and debate over the exact date to celebrate veterans, it was finally signed into law and observed on November 11, 1978. Every year on this date thousands of people attend or watch the ceremony conducted at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This tomb is dedicated to American solders who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean Conflict; the tombs are guarded 24-hours a day.
According to the U.S. Census Department, in 2008 there were a total of 9.2 million veterans who served in the military. When you think about it, American soldiers should be recognized for their hard work and endless defense of our country on more than just one day. What follows are lesson plans that can help students understand why Veterans Day is an important national holiday.
Veterans Day Lesson Plans:
Teacher Resource Guide For Veterans Day- This resource guide was created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It provides lesson plans and additional information about the history of Veterans Day.
Remember Our Soldiers- This is a great lesson for students to recognize soldiers by involving students in community service and participating in a letter writing campaign to send to troops serving in the military.
Remember Our Veterans- In this lesson plan students will use data provided by various resources to create charts and graphs all related to veterans. Students will also create Power Point presentations.
The Wall: Inspires Letters to Veterans- In this lesson students are read Eve Bunting's book "The Wall" and write letters to veterans at local veterans hospitals.
Memorial Day: Graphing Our History of Sacrifice- Students use an online graphing tool to help create graphs about Americans who lost their lives fighting to defend our country.