Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thanks, Veterans!

Veteran's Day began in 1919 as Armistice Day, commemorating the day the fighting stopped in World War I. Though that was supposed to be "The War to End All Wars," many other soldiers have fought many other battles since. In 1954, Armistice Day became Veteran's Day, a day to remember and honor those who served and sacrificed for the United States.

Getting that idea across to children without glorifying war or causing fright is tricky, but several books strike the right tone. America's White Table by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Mike Benny, tells about a family who sets a special table for Veteran's Day with symbolic gifts that help them remember veterans. Eve Bunting's text and Ronald Himler's illustrations in The Wall depict a father's and son's visit to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., where they find the son's grandfather's name enscribed. These and three other books are mentioned at Anastasia Suen's "5 Great Books" blog.

Adults have many biographies, memoirs, and other non-fiction books from which to choose. One I recommend is a modern classic, The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, about Americans who served in World War II and went on to rebuild the world and regain America's prosperity. I may be partial to this one because my dad was of that generation. His reading this book when he was in his 80's opened the door for him to talk about his war years with us for the first time.

How will you commemorate Veteran's Day?

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