Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day is kind of like Labor Day in terms of school activities - if I do incorporate it into lessons, I don't want to just throw together a crafty thing with some sort of American national symbol on it. I want students to figure out the meaning. Why do we have a day for veterans? What is being a veteran like? Because it isn't all war and honor and glory.

The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs has this entire PDF for teachers to use in relation to Veteran's Day. It studies several wars, the history of the day, how to fold a flag into that neat triangle, and distinguishes the different between Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.

There is only one living veteran from WWI. There are 2,306,000 from WWII, and 7,125,000 from Vietnam. I heard on the radio today that two-thirds of homeless people are veterans. Even though veterans have access to the best health care (and I'm assuming they have access to mental health care as well), there are some who don't get help.

I've only ever met two vets in person. They both kind of creeped me out. Granted, when I was a teenager, a lot of things creeped me out (think lion from Oz). I didn't really know how to interact with them, and since I didn't want to walk on eggshells around them (as I observed other people doing), I didn't interact with them much at all.

The radio anchor kept saying that the general public needs to thank the veterans more. Which is a little weird to me. Not that thanking them isn't a proper thing to do (it is), but to be honest, just saying "Thanks!" to a vet seems rather anti-climactic. Their needs are obviously not fulfilled just from thanks alone.

Someone tell me this is too political to teach in a classroom. Would I get into trouble for bringing up the issue?

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