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Veteran’s Day: How to Talk to Your Kids About This Day!

Mary and Ernest Thigpen, My Grandparents
I want to start this post by wishing a Happy Veteran’s Day from Mommy’s Block Party to our readers and to say thank you for your service to our readers who are Veterans! 

Since my son was born in January, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about his “firsts,” both developmental firsts and “calendar” firsts.  As a huge lover of holidays, I’ve spent a ton of time thinking about Little Bear’s first Easter, Halloween, and most of all Christmas.  But I have to admit, that I gave no real thought to his first Veteran’s Day; there are, I’m sure, a few reasons for that, but sadly, it is probably as much a conviction of myself as anything, showing that I don’t spend as much time with our veterans on my mind as I should. 

But as we entered November, and I realized the day was drawing nearer, I found my mind resting on the veteran I’ve been closest to in my life: my Grandfather, a veteran of World War II, who--along with his twin brother--enlisted on May 20th, 1943, at served with the 794th AAA AW BN (Automatic Weapons Battalion).  He became a preacher when he returned from Europe and helped to open a Christian summer camp that has helped to bring countless people to Christ.  I know he was proud to have served his country, but I believe he would want to be remembered as a God-fearing man and a loving father and husband; I know I remember him loving me as much as anyone could!  He passed away sixteen years ago, his funeral being held on Veteran’s Day 2013.  My Grandfather was a truly amazing man and as he’s been more on my mind the past few days, I’ve realized how sad it makes me to know that my son will never get to know him in this life.

My Granddaddy with me on his lap

As I’ve thought about telling LB about his Great-Granddaddy, I’ve realized that I didn’t really know how to talk to him about what a veteran was or how to explain war; how something can be so horrible and so important at the same time. I knew as he got older he would understand a little more about war and the law around it (more here on VA disability laws), so I just wanted to start off a conversation. So many are in the same position post-war which is very important to understand. Luckily, I’ll be spared this task for a few more years, but I thought that, if I was struggling with this, others probably were too.  So, I turned to the internet and found a resource for just this subject on Military.com, I’m sharing a just a few of their suggestions, but I would invite you to check out the list in it’s entirety as well as their other resources on their website.

Ways to Teach Your Kids About Veteran’s Day

Attend your town’s Veteran’s Day Parade:
Frequently, local parades invite participation from area veterans to represent their branch, so after the parade find a Veteran and ask him or her about their service.  Remember, there are veterans of all ages, from people who served in World War II to recent retirees.  You can also invite a veteran you know over for coffee or on a family outing and listen to his or her stories.

Give Thanks:
Encourage or help your child write a note or draw a picture to thank a veteran.  Deliver it to someone you know or visit Operation Gratitude to have it delivered.

This can be money (help your children pick out an organization that helps veterans), time (volunteer with a local organization), or your gently used items.  Or, if you know a local veteran, offer a personal act of kindness and service, such as raking their leaves or bringing by a homemade frozen meal.

I hope you find these simple first steps helpful in talking to your kids about Veteran’s Day and again invite you to check out the full list and other resources on Military.com.

If you have any other ideas for Veteran’s Day activities for your kids, please share them in the comments below!

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