In honor of Memorial Day, the school I teach at had a very important assembly to honor members of our military and teach the students about the true meaning of Memorial Day. Many of my own students come from homes that might not be knowledgeable about this topic and teach them the most important parts about this day and the reasons behind it.For my 1st graders. it was easier for me to break it down and teach them 3 main things about Memorial Day that I felt were most important for them to know.
First of all, teach children that we OBSERVE Memorial Day and NOT celebrate it. Too often, the focus becomes on the “celebration” part of a holiday (and day off of school). It’s important to explain to children that it’s OK to enjoy an extra day off of school, such as Memorial Day, but it is not the kind of”holiday” to wish someone a “Happy Memorial Day” or to throw a “Memorial Day Party”.
Second, teach children that it’s OK to acknowledge soldiers and veterans and to thank them for what they’ve done. I taught my students to say, “Thank you for your service” to anyone in their family, their neighborhood, or even out in their community. I also explained that it’s acceptable to acknowledge Memorial day to families who have lost someone in the line of duty because they want to honor the memory of their loved one.
Finally, I discussed what it means to “take a moment of silence” on Memorial Day. Traditionally it’s observed at 3:00 p.m. your local time, but after discussing with my students, I told them that they could observe their “moment of silence” any time during the day if they weren’t able to do so right at 3:00 p.m.Memorial Day is such an important topic to talk to children about, both at school and at home. Above all, because of the sacrifice our soldiers and their families make, America is the “Home of the Free, because of the Brave!”