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Celebrating Veterans with Library of Congress Primary Sources

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Thinking about how to commemorate Veterans Day with your students? Our blog posts can provide some ideas.

Welcome Home Boys, 1919
Welcome Home Boys, 1919

Explore the origins of Veterans Day. Students can explore why it took so long to establish Veterans Day as an official holiday. Also they can consider the initial reasons for the celebrations on November 11th and whether or not we should consider having an Armistice Day as well as a Veterans Day.

As a part of Veterans Day celebrations, older students can interview veterans in the community. See how teachers in a suburb of Chicago developed an oral history project and how it enhanced the students’ educational experience. Want to learn more about the Veterans History Project? You can read more in this post at or on the Veterans History Project website.

Learn more about the experiences of veterans overseas and the family members they left behind in Letters from Home blog post.

See how one veteran used art to document his military experience. . Explore historic newspapers to read poetry written by other soldiers.

World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C. Carol Highsmith, 2006
World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C. Carol Highsmith, 2006

Students can read about the National World War II memorial and consider memorials to veterans in their communities. If students could design a memorial for veterans from their community or those from a specific war, what would it look like? What would they want it to convey?

The Library’s Folklife Today blog has more on the Veterans History Project, with posts featuring those interviewed as part of the project as well as the experiences of the interviewers.

Need additional teaching suggestions? We have two primary source sets: Veterans’ Stories: The Veterans History Project  and Veterans’ Stories: Struggles for Participation that include links to interviews and a teacher’s guide with suggestions on how to incorporate these oral histories into your classroom activities.

How will you and your students honor our nation’s veterans? Let us know in the comments.


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