On November 11th of each year Americans observe Veterans Day. This day is dedicated to honoring veterans – people who have served or are currently serving in the US military. But how did the holiday come to be? Check out this All About the Holidays video from PBS LearningMedia to learn more about its origins after World War I, originally known as Armistice Day.
Keep scrolling for resources to help teach your children about veterans and Veterans Day, educational programs in our Learning at Home block, and local stories from Mountain Lake’s Veterans Coming Home series.
Explore activities, resources and media collections focused on veterans affairs, their stories, and memorials to servicepeople in America.
Veterans Day Printables | Sesame Street
Grades PreK-1 Make a finger puppet parade of pride with these Veterans Day muppets and make these Veterans Day printables into cards or signs by coloring them.
Soldiers, Veterans, and War in American Life Collection
Grades 3-12 These videos, images, and media-rich lesson plans allow you to bring stories from the battlefront into American history, world history, and health classrooms. Compare veterans’ recounted memories of World War II and Vietnam to understand how these wars shaped American culture. Analyze artifacts and oral histories that reveal important experiences of a nation during times of conflict. Use recent veterans’ personal stories to engage in a discussion of how the choice to become a soldier and the experience of serving relate to personal values and goals.
The Wall: Why We Remember
Grades 6-8 This lesson focuses on the purpose of memorials, the significance of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the traveling exhibit “The Wall That Heals.” Content was developed as part of Panhandle PBS’s Crossing the Divide: The Texas Panhandle Vietnam War Project, in conjunction with the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick film The Vietnam War.
Photos Capture Collision of Military and Civilian Life
Grades 7-12 Look into an artist’s process in capturing veterans’ stories with this video and educational materials from PBS NewsHour from November 11, 2014.
Veterans’ Stories: The Veterans History Project
Grades 8-12 The Veterans History Project, which is a special project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, is the largest oral history project in U.S. history. Since it was founded in 2000, it has collected over 65,000 items from thousands of veterans. These items can take many forms from personal narratives (audio and video-taped interviews, written memoirs) and correspondence (letters, postcards, personal diaries) to visual materials (photographs, drawings, scrapbooks). This media gallery from PBS LearningMedia also includes a Teacher’s Guide.
Learning at Home programs
Wednesday, November 11
Korea: The Never-Ending War 1 PM
Shedding new light on a geopolitical hot spot, the film — written and produced by John Maggio and narrated by Korean-American actor John Cho — confronts the myth of the “Forgotten War,” documenting the post-1953 conflict and global consequences.
Thursday, November 12
Fly Boys: Western Pennsylvania’s Tuskegee Airmen 1 PM
The story of struggle and the ultimate triumph of the brave African American soldiers who served their country during World War II. The film chronicles the “Tuskegee Airmen” program, a controversial military initiative designed to measure African-Americans’ competence for flying the engines of war. This fascinating documentary features the stories of the more than 40 aviators from western Pennsylvania, including the pilots, navigators and bombardiers who flew fighter and bomber planes during the war, as well as the maintenance and support staff, instructors and personnel who kept the planes in the air.
D-Day: Over Normandy 2 PM
Narrated by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, this documentary focuses on the personal stories of those who served in the Second World War. It was filmed exclusively by drone camera on location on some of the most iconic locations in Normandy, France. The modern-day aerial footage is accompanied by interviews with World War II veterans, mixed with archival footage of the June 6, 1944 ‘D-Day’ invasion, along with newly created maps and photo animations.
Veterans Coming Home is an innovative cross-platform public media campaign that bridges America’s military-civilian divide by telling stories, challenging stereotypes and exploring how the values of service and citizenship are powerful connectors for all Americans.
Many may know of the Code Talkers in World Wars One and Two, but there are thousands of other Native Americans who have, and continue to serve in our nation’s armed forces. After decades of persecution, why would Indigenous People want to risk their lives for a country that has treated their people so poorly? Veterans Coming Home producer Mike Hansen found many Mohawks living on both sides of the border who say serving in the military has been a way of life for generations.
A Vietnam Vet’s Love of Photography
In this Emmy winning segment, Rise Above, producer Michael C. Hansen tells the story of Clifford Oliver, a Navy veteran living in Northern New York. After two tours in Vietnam and some time with the photography unit, Oliver left the military and became a photographer using his knowledge to rise above the prejudice he experienced both in the Deep South and on ship.
Finding Your Voice
Female veterans, often an invisible group of service members, find camaraderie and comfort in group retreats held at the Wiawaka Center for Women at the Wiawaka Holiday House in Lake George (village), New York. Though they face the same challenges as their male counterparts, it is while gathering with their fellow female vets that they best discover their voices and share their stories.