We observe Veterans Day to reflect on the sacrifice and bravery of the men and women who serve in our armed forces.
Originally, Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day, and it was a celebration of the end of World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. The United States also chose Armistice Day as a chance to honor those who served and lost their lives during that war. After World War II, Armistice Day became Veterans Day in the U.S., and today we honor all veterans who have served our nation.
Today, there are many men and women in the armed forces. Chances are, every student in your classroom knows of someone serving or who has served—be it a grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle, or family friend. Will you be talking about Veterans Day this week? How do you help your students understand veterans’ service and sacrifice?
One way to do this is to show your students photographs of active-duty servicemen and women, as well as veterans. Use the National Geographic Education collection of resources on the military to find photos that fit your discussion best. Here are a few that may inspire your students to learn more about the veterans in their lives, and their experiences.
Soldiers in Action
You can ask your students: Looking at these images, what might it be like to be a soldier during wartime? What conditions do they face? How do those conditions change in different conflicts? How do soldiers adjust to life in different climates, seasons, landscapes, cultures?
Families at Home
While servicemen and women are on tour or in training, their families are often left missing them at home. These images illustrate that military families are often a strong forces themselves. Groups like the United Service Organizations (USO) and others also work with families of members in the armed forces to help them through time apart. How do your students react to family photos like these? How do they think time away from a loved one may impact the everyday and long-term family relationships?
The men and women serving our nation are often put in harm’s way. They fight in battles that can cause devastating injuries, and loss of life. This image depicts a soldier who lost two legs, but still wears his uniform with pride. How do students feel looking at this photo? What do they think about the soldier’s attitude? What obstacles do students think disabled veterans encounter? How do they think communities can help improve everyday life for veterans and other disabled people?
These images are available in the many resources available in the National Geographic Education military collection. We invite you to observe Veterans Day in your classroom by sharing these photos and photos in your personal collection to get your students talking about the men and women who serve our nation.
More related resources from National Geographic Education
Collection: Military Collection
This Day in Geographic History: 1918 – ‘The Great War’ Ends
This Day in Geographic History: 1944 – D-Day
Photo: Prosthetic Limbs