The Times West Virginian

Family Times

November 12, 2012

Teach children the importance of patriotism

Veterans Day is a perfect time to discuss with children that one of the ways American citizens show their patriotism, or love for one’s country, is by serving in the Armed Forces.

Here are some steps to helping young children understand more:

• Go over the definition of “veteran.”

List other Veterans Day vocabulary words, such as military, army, navy, infantry, armistice, battle, war, soldier, G.I., casualty, POW, troops, poppy and service.

Show them images of the three different groups (community service, civilian, military). Ask them if they know who these people are. After each group has been identified, pull a few pictures of men and women from each group and form a new group, identifying them as “veterans.”

Then explain that all the people in the veteran group have served in the Armed Forces. They are veterans if they have served during wartime or peace time.

• Discuss American symbols and songs that are special to veterans.

Have pictures (or actual items) of symbols, songs and uniforms. Go over the colors of the flag: Red is for valor or bravery; white is for purity and goodness; blue is for justice and fairness.

Explain that veterans have the utmost respect for their country’s flag and know the days when it is especially important to fly it: Presidents’ Day, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

• Arrange a visit with a veteran.

A visit from a local VFW Post or high school JROTC program would be exciting for children. Letting them try on the uniforms and ask questions of real veterans would bring the subject more to life.

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