Nov. 12, 2023: Thank You Veterans
Updated: Nov 19
Like most Americans, I have always celebrated Veterans Day.
However, this year, my awareness of, and appreciation for veterans, has reached a deeper level, due to my work this past year with the Veteran Legacy Program.
The Veterans Legacy Program (VLP) was established in 2016 in partnership with the National Cemetery Administration. The 155 National Cemeteries are where United States Veterans are buried, and the purpose of the VLP is to research and highlight the stories of the lives of these veterans in order to honor their service.
My 5th Grade students have been directly involved in this mission, this year. In teams, they have each been researching a veteran buried in one of the 9 National Cemeteries here in Florida.
They have been studying documents they typically do not have much experience with, such as census reports and enlistment papers. They have been learning about the various wars and conflicts in which their veteran served, and they have begun to piece together, like a jigsaw puzzle, the life of their veteran.
Some have been dead for hundreds of years, and others, a few decades. Some had combat roles, others support roles, and some served in peacetime. They served in different branches and in different conflicts. But what they do have in common is that they are all ordinary Americans.
Unlike other research projects, these subjects are not famous, or legendary or written up in history books. These are ordinary citizens who wanted to serve our country and did so through their military service.
I think this project has also been powerful for my students. They have come to understand that there are many forms of contributing to society and making a difference. Even those with family members who are veterans, have gotten a deeper understanding of the work of their loved one.
Tomorrow is our school’s Annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast. We invite veterans from our community to our school for a breakfast and program to honor them and their service.
This year my 5th graders will be reading essays describing the life of the veteran they have researched, as a way to thank and honor them.
To all Veterans- thank you.