Why Veterans Day?
On November 11, 1918, a peace agreement called an “armistice” ended the fighting of World War I and went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The world hoped that World War I was the war that would end all wars, so November 11 soon became known as “Armistice Day.” On that day, many nations remembered their soldiers who fought in World War I.
Armistice Day originally intended to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954, after World War II required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in the nation’s history, the United States renamed Armistice Day to “Veterans Day” to honor American veterans of all wars.
Each year, the Veterans Day National Ceremony is held on November 11 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Beginning at 11 a.m., a color guard made up of members from each of the military services honors America’s military personnel who have died in service during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.
What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?
Both holidays recognize and honor the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day, observed in May, is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who have died in the service of their country. On Veterans Day, we remember those who have died, but also thank and honor living veterans who have served in the military – in wartime or peacetime.
Games and Activities
Learn more about the role that the American military played in World War I by playing Peter the Eagle’s Coin Drop, where you deliver Liberty Loans to the Allies. This game can be played for individual enrichment or incorporated as part of a classroom lesson.
Veterans Day Quiz: Test out your knowledge of the history of Veterans Day and learn new facts about the November 11 holiday to honor and celebrate the veterans who have served our country!
Medals are round and made of metal, like coins, but they have no value stamped on them. They are not money but are meant to honor the work of a specific person or groups.
Here are three medals given to groups of veterans:
- 2017 Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal: This medal was given to the Filipino Veterans of World War II for their service in defending U.S. sovereign territory following President Roosevelt’s call-to-arms in July 1941 to address the rising tensions with Japan in the Pacific.
- 2014 U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment Congressional Gold Medal: This medal was given to the U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry Regiment – known as the Borinqueneers – in recognition of their pioneering military service during World War I, World War II, and Korea.
- 2014 Monuments Men Congressional Gold Medal: This medal was given to the men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section under the Allied Armies in recognition for their heroic role in the preservation, protection, and restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II.
Check out the Veterans Medals that honor the work of military heroes.
Teach your students about veterans, POWs, and the concept of peace with these lesson plans.
What is Peace? (Grades 2-3)
Starting with the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial quarter, students will define peace and determine how they can contribute to peace in their families, schools and communities. Students will convey how they imagine a peaceful world.
Serving our Nation (Grades 3-8)
Students will read about and research the lives of specific war veterans honored on coins or medals to compare their common characteristics and differences.
Veterans and POWs (Grades 6–8)
Students will use online resources to investigate the role veterans and POWs have played in our nation’s history. This activity relates directly to the U.S. POW Commemorative Coin.
Code Talkers Recognition Act (Grades 6-8)
Students will research and draw connections about specific time periods. Students will understand and sequence events and demonstrate an understanding of the importance of Code Talkers in American history.
Fact Checking History (Grades 9-12)
Students will be able to describe the significance of the Battles of Saratoga using primary and secondary sources. Students will explain the importance of using multiple primary sources to become an informed citizen.