Teaching Veterans Day

Americans celebrate every November 11 to honor veterans who have ever served. Formerly known as Armistice Day, Veterans’ Day initially honored the ending of World War 1, November 11, 1918. The day official became a holiday in 1938 following proclamation by President Roosevelt. After World War II and the Korean War, President Eisenhower broadened the scope of the holiday by proclaiming the day Veterans’ Day, commemorating all Americans who served.

The National Archives works to provide access to veterans’ records to help them receive benefits. The agency can assist with medical or health records, as well as work with veterans to replace lost medals and awards. Teachers and researchers can take advantage of the various online exhibits: World War 1: A Soldier’s Story, D-Day and the Normandy Invasion, Remembering Vietnam, as well as education resources, articles, blogs, and oral histories.

The National Education Association (NEA) has put together a variety of educational activities for teachers and their students. The Department of Veterans Affairs also put together a Veterans Day Teachers Guide to offer various ideas and activities to make learning about the history of the holiday more engaging to students. The most important lesson on Veterans Day is to be sure to thank a service member.