Veterans Day Commemoration Activities

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Veterans Day activities afford the schools and the local community an excellent opportunity to produce a variety of cooperative programs. Participation by patriotic organizations can enhance the projects suggested in this guide.

1. Indoor Ceremony
Depending on the facilities available, an indoor assembly program can provide a most meaningful tribute to America's veterans. The scope of such a program may be large enough to permit invitations to the community at large. The following ceremony outline, with prepared Veterans Day remarks represents a typical one-hour program:

Prelude and Posting of Colors
As the audience enters to be seated, a school or community musical organization may perform several appropriate selections. A procession and posting of colors always makes for a stirring event. Local veterans service organizations often participate in such programs with their impressive array of banners and flags.

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and National Anthem
The program chairperson, school principal, or student body president should invite the audience to stand and join in the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem.

Introductory Remarks
The tone for the program may be set by appropriate introductory remarks lasting several minutes. The following remarks may be used or, if desired, the President's Veterans Day Proclamation may be read:

  • Today there is, and perhaps there always will be, conflict in the world. But the United States fortunately enjoys peace and freedom. Like other things of great value, this security did not come cheaply. Part of the cost has already been paid by Americans who answered the call to military duty when their country needed them. They served in 11 wars, from the Revolution to the Persian Gulf, earning the special distinction "veteran." But another part of freedom's cost must continue to be paid long after the guns have been silenced. This debt is owed America's veterans. Some need their country's help, even as their country once needed theirs, to readjust, to recover from wounds, or to overcome hardships of age and infirmity. Most ask nothing in repayment of their sacrifices. Let us continue to help those veterans in need with the greatest possible compassion and efficiency. To the rest, since they ask no special help, we can best pay tribute this day by recognizing what they have achieved and joining them in their resolve to keep America strong and free.

Special Musical Selection
A band or choral group should perform one of the more impressive patriotic selections available.

Introduction of Guests
Dignitaries selected as special guests may include local government officials, school alumni with distinguished military service, veterans from the community who represent different periods of service, and faculty members who are veterans.

Principal Speaker
Your principal speaker should be invited far enough in advance to allow him or her adequate preparation time for your program.

Student Essay or Reading
In school programs, student body participation may be increased by including in the program various presentations by individual pupils. Selected essays from school-wide competition may be offered by the student-authors. Having a talented student read a well-known patriotic address by an American president or famous military hero that can be effective. There are a number of published musicals/narratives that could add greatly to your program.

Moment of Silence and Taps

While Veterans Day is typically a tribute to America's living veterans, it is always appropriate to include a moment of silence in respect for those who gave their lives for their country. The signing of the World War I Armistice took place in a railway coach near the battle zone in France. The bugles sounded "cease firing" and the hostilities ended, marking a most significant moment in world history. Although 11 a.m. remains the traditional hour for this type of tribute, a moment of silence is appropriate at any point in the program. This may be followed by an instrumental or vocal rendition of "Taps."

Accompanied by appropriate music, assembled colors should be retired. Then the audience may file out.

2. Flag Raising Ceremony
Weather permitting, outdoor flag-raising ceremonies permit group participation in an event that routinely escapes attention. Such a ceremony, although brief, should include the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem. A special guest may participate.

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