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Happy Veterans Day 2017

November 9, 2017
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Happy Veterans Day 2017

A time to honor.

A time to celebrate.

A time to thank.

A time to remember.

A time to look back.

A time to look ahead.


On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour in 1918, an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations began; since 1919 November 11th has marked a special day every year, a day that we set aside to honor our Veterans. How do you and your school family celebrate this federal holiday?


At Westwood Elementary, it’s a long-standing tradition for our first graders to research the branches of the military, learn some patriotic songs by heart, and invite any and all Veterans that they know to come to school so that we can recognize them, honor them, thank them, and learn from them. The students bring in pictures and information about the Veterans in their family to be displayed on bulletin boards up and down Respect Route. They write them letters of thanks that they will give to them when they visit.


On Veterans Day, these heroes come to school so that the students can introduce them and interview them in class, then listen to their stories and serve them refreshments. At night, they return to be saluted by the beautiful voices of children dressed in red, white, and blue belting out songs of respect for their country, like This Land Is Your Land, You’re A Grand Old Flag, and God Bless America. Click {here} for a picture walk through that special collaboration with our little learners and their special Veterans.



Some of our Veterans gave the ultimate sacrifice, their life, to keep us safe and free. Freedom, you see, isn’t free at all. Families are torn apart, hearts are broken into pieces, and dreams are shattered in pursuit of justice, liberty, and freedom. So though we only set aside one day a year, we must remember the price that these brave servicemen and women and their families have paid in order that we might live our dreams safe and secure every single day. We are forever grateful for them. Next time you see men or women in uniform, reach out your hand and thank them for their service. We must make sure we never forget.


Veterans Day just before Thanksgiving every year is perfectly timed to serve as a poignant reminder that we’re called to give thanks in all things.  


As you ponder and prepare for both of these big celebrations, consider the following inquiry reflections about gratitude:


*Gratitude has been called an art, a science, a gift, an attitude. Which one of these rings true for you? How would you describe gratitude?


*Author Douglas Wood wrote, “We don’t give thanks because we’re happy. We are happy because we give thanks.” Studies have shown that grateful people are happier people and tend to live an average of seven years longer. What other benefits of gratitude have you experienced?


*Besides modeling, how do you teach the people around you to be grateful? How do you show gratitude at home? At work? In your community? In the world?


*I’ve heard it said that gratitude makes us vulnerable. Do you agree or disagree?


*It challenged me to find gratitude during recovery after being hit head-on by a drunk driver. When have you struggled to feel grateful?


*How might keeping a gratitude journal and naming your gifts help grow your gratitude?


*How can you make gratitude a verb? What could you do to show your thankfulness every day?


John F. Kennedy so eloquently reminded us of this: As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.


Happy Thanks and Giving.