Veterans Day Letter Writing Activity
Are you looking for a meaningful activity to use in your classroom this Veterans Day? I’ve created this Veterans Day letter writing activity to do just that! In this activity, your students will discover the history behind Veterans Day, discuss ways to honor those who have served, and write a heartfelt letter of gratitude to veterans in your community. Check out the lesson plan below and be sure to click the link to download the Veterans Day letter template.
Veterans Day Letter Lesson Plan
1. Define Veteran
Explain what a veteran is to your students.
A veteran is a person who has served in the United States Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
2. Give a Brief History of Veterans Day
Tell your students a little bit about the history of Veterans Day:
At 11pm on November 11, 1918 leaders from the affected nations signed an armistice (or peace treaty) to end the fighting of World War I. One year later, President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11th as “Armistice Day” in the United States to respect “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in which the War ended. This day also honored the men and women who fought in the War.
Over the years, the name of this holiday changed from “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day.” Today, we observe Veterans Day every November 11th to show our gratitude to veterans of the United States Armed Forces – living or dead – who have served our country in times of war and peace.
3. Read Aloud America’s White Table
America’s White Table, written by Margot Theis Raven, is an incredibly touching picture book in which a family honors their uncle – a veteran who served in the Vietnam War – by setting up a White Table.
The White Table is set up at many military events in honor of American Prisoners of War and missing service members.
The White Table contains many symbols. For example, a small table symbolizes the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her oppressors. An empty chair represents the missing service members. And a black napkin shows the sorrow of captivity.
I love this read aloud video of the book! It is about 6 minutes long and has a beautiful rendition of My Country, ‘Tis of Thee playing in the background. You can also check out the book from the library or buy the book on Amazon.
4. Begin Veterans Day Letter Writing Activity
Finally, students will use the Veterans Day letter templates, to write letters to veterans. These letters can be written to veterans your students know personally, local veterans in your community, or even given to a veterans organization.
Before you begin, give students some letter writing tips:
- Start with a greeting, such as “Dear Veteran,” “Dear Brave One,” or “Dear Hero.” If you know the veteran personally, write their name!
- Thank the veteran for his or her service.
- Share a little about yourself (hobbies, school, etc.).
- Personalize your letter by adding drawings.
- Sign the letter with your first name only.
Note: If you are sending the letters to an organization like Operation Gratitude, do not date the letters. Sometimes it takes up to a few months for their care packages to be received.
Download the Veterans Day Letter Template
I hope this activity brings a little more meaning to Veterans Day in your classroom. To download the letter writing templates, simply click the button below.
Looking for more social studies lessons? Check out these other free lesson plans I have created. All lesson plans are Google Classroom compatible – perfect for both in-person and distance learning!