Students attend Veteran's Day ceremonies at the Price Peace Garden last November.
Veterans Day is coming, an annual opportunity for communities and families to honor former U.S. service members. And as these heroes age, it's important to keep their stories and sacrifices alive by listening and learning.
Here are some great ways to commemorate veterans this holiday:
Listen to a Story
You may not think about it much, but everyone has a lesson to share and a story to offer. World War II for example, which killed and injured more people than any other war in human history, impacted an entire generation -- from soldiers on the frontlines of battle, to children at home participating in the war effort. Learn about both world history and your family's history by talking to older relatives and friends about their experiences and trials. You may even consider tape recording the conversation so you can share the personal account with others.
If you have a story yourself, consider writing it down or retelling it at the next family gathering.
Read a War
While reading and understanding the past is possible by delving into a standard-issue textbook, there is nothing like an eyewitness account to get a true feel for a crucial time in history. Such accounts can deliver a unique perspective on a familiar story.
The tales you discover can help you better connect with history. One such book, the newly released "Terror Before Dawn: A Child At War," by Anne Raghnild Fagerberg and William Sterling Williams, presents Fagerberg's account of her childhood experience during World War II under Nazi rule in Norway.
Williams, Fagerberg's son, found her notes after she died of cancer in 1998. She had completed her story shortly before she passed away. Though only a child during the war, Fagerberg did what she could to contribute to winning the war, distributing newspapers and literature of the underground resistance movement.
"The reflections of a war survivor offer lessons about courage, survival, rebuilding and freedom," says Williams. "Her piece of history needed to be preserved."
More information can be found at such websites as www.amazon.com by searching for "Terror Before Dawn."
No one is too young to learn about and honor the past. While children might enjoy a holiday parade, be sure to explain the true meaning of the day so they understand the reason for all the fanfare.
Many schools choose to honor veterans by inviting them to speak at assemblies and before history classes. Find out what programs are happening at your school.
Visit www.va.gov/kids for ideas on how to talk to kids about war, history and the sacrifice of veterans.
Don't let this Veterans Day pass by unrecognized. Take the time to honor the past.