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Amanda Raymond column: Questions about Veterans Day

On Monday I had the pleasure of attending China Grove Elementary School’s Veterans Day luncheon. The school hosts the luncheon every year, but this year it decided to get the students involved.

The students were challenged to complete a project-based learning activity in which they researched questions about Veterans Day, and the fourth grade class decided to take on the challenge.

After writing research papers and creating posters, two students from every fourth grade class were chosen to attend the luncheon.

English as a Second Language Teacher Beth Houck read some of the research papers aloud to the veterans attending the luncheon.

The questions that the students researched were ones that I had about Veterans Day but was too lazy to research, so it was a great learning experience for me. Of course I knew the day was for honoring veterans, but how did it start? What’s the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day? I don’t remember learning about Veterans Day at all while I was at school. For me, it was just a pleasant day off from school. But the day has a lot of history behind it and a lot of significance attached to it, for good reason.

One topic the students researched was the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Memorial Day, I learned, had its beginnings near the end of the Civil War, while Veterans Day was started after World War I. Memorial Day was previously called Decoration Day and was originally for decorating the graves of the military servicemen and women. Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day because of the armistice treaty that was signed to end the combat of World War I.

“So we learned that these two holidays have different dates but we celebrate both holidays, one in memory of those who died in our nation’s wars and the other one for veterans living and dead,” one student wrote.

Another topic of research was how Veterans Day was celebrated in other countries. 

One student wrote about how Canada, Australia and Great Britain have parades on their Rememberance days, just like we have parades on Veterans Day in America. France also has a parade on their Armistice Day. Many countries that have a form of Veterans Day also hold a minute or two of silence.

Some students wrote about how Americans honor and support veterans. One student wrote that many Americans take veterans for granted and use their day off for other things.

“I think we honor our veterans very well because at school every day we say the Pledge of Allegiance, even though I think sometimes we forget the meaning of it and how hard (veterans) fought for us,” the student wrote.

Another student thought Americans did not honor veterans as well as other countries.

“Most people don’t even say thank you when they see a veteran,” the student wrote.

One student wrote about the tradition of a restaurant giving out free coffee every Tuesday for veterans, and another student researched the significance of red poppies and the “In Flanders Field” poem.

“All the guys who died on the field made the ground red, so that’s why the poppies are red,” the student said.

It’s great that China Grove’s students learned some practical researching skills and know more about a holiday that they might not have known before. I know I learned a lot.

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