In 1918, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, fighting ceased in World War I. Formerly known as Armistice Day, Veterans Day (November 11) is a day to honor veterans living and dead who have given so much to protect our country. This year, with our armed forces fighting enemies overseas and at home, Veterans Day is even more significant.
Created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Celebrating America's Freedoms is a collection of articles about many of America's customs and national symbols. Topics include the history of Taps, the Pledge of Allegiance, The Star Spangled Banner, American flag etiquette and more. For Veterans Day, visit The Origins of Veterans Day and Activities for Veterans Day. All the features are available online or as a Word document. To download the entire section as a twenty-seven PDF, look for the tiny link at the bottom of the page.
For Veterans Day, Flag Day, and the Fourth of July, Enchanted Learning offers twenty patriotic crafts for preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary ages. All can be made with common craft supplies, such as paper, scissors, glue, string, pencils and popsicle sticks. Projects that caught my eye include: a three-dimensional freestanding star, a star pinwheel, a patriotic pebble with a flag painted on it, and a flag from craft sticks. If you're looking ahead on the calendar, there's a link to Christmas Crafts from the standalone star page.
"Armistice Day officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday twelve years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans." This short Infoplease feature is a history of Veterans Day. Best clicks are the related Infoplease pages such as War Movie Crossword, American Veterans by the Numbers (statistics from the Census 2000) and War Poems from famous authors.
"Every veteran has his or her own war, and each is custodian of a unique story and memories. At the Veterans History Project, we treasure the personal narratives sent to us by veterans from all wars. Vivid as if they happened yesterday, these heartfelt accounts make us laugh, cry and remember." The stories are amazing (making this Library of Congress site my pick of the day) but better yet you can interview a family member, and add their story to the collection. The participation page is chock full of interviewing tips and sample questions. Stories can be submitted online or via a printed form.
Woo hoo! The Department of Veterans Affairs brings us three websites: one for grades K- 5; another for grades 6-12, and a third for teachers. Highlights are games, age-appropriate articles, and links to external resources. Best click for teachers is the forty-two page Teachers Guide which include printable handouts for grades K.