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How to observe Veterans Day with your Scouts

With nearly 22 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces living among us, chances are good that at least one of these American heroes is a family member or close friend of you or someone in your Scouting unit.

Though these men and women deserve our recognition and thanks every day, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, the official day during which we remember our veterans.

With Scouting’s excellent relationship with the military, thousands of packs, troops, teams, and crews across the country have been and will be taking time to recognize veterans in their community all week. What’s your unit’s plan? If you’re still looking for ideas, Scouting magazine is here to help.

Have your Scouts write a letter to a veteran

Here are some tips on how to do it right:

  • Remain positive. Some veterans are sick or under a lot of stress. They’d love to hear happy stories about what you’re doing.
  • Remember that veterans may be men or women, old or young, and of all ethnic backgrounds when writing your letter.
  • Be creative! Draw pictures or send photographs of your school, Scout activities, or favorite things from home.
  • Say “thank you” for their service, and let them know why you think patriotism is important.
  • Write stories about your family, Scouting unit, school, and other things that you do.
  • You can even make it fun by sharing your favorite jokes!
  • Ask who you’re writing if he or she used to be a Scout or Venturer.

Invite a veteran to speak to your unit

Many veterans would feel honored when asked to come speak to your unit about their experiences serving our country.

To find an interested veteran, try contacting a veterans group chapter or VA hospital in your area. This facility locator should help you get started.

Hold special activities at your next meeting

Take a moment to remember veterans at your meeting, even if you aren’t inviting a veteran to speak to your unit.

This Teachers Guide (link opens PowerPoint) was prepared by the Department of Veterans Affairs specifically for school classrooms, but there are clear applications for a unit leader looking to design an activity for younger or old boys.

Have a Scout recite a Veterans Day speech

A simple way to honor this special day might be to ask one of your Scouts to recite all or part of a Veterans Day speech given by a president or other top official.

You’ll find dozens of speeches available on the VA’s site, including ones by Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Gerald R. Ford, the only president who was an Eagle Scout.

More ideas?

Have any more ideas? Let us know in the comments section below. And because we can never say it enough: Thank you, veterans!

7 Comments on How to observe Veterans Day with your Scouts

  1. Each year on the Saturday before Veterans Day, Troop 737 in Richmond, VA holds a wreath-laying ceremony at Westhampton Memorial Park’s Armed Forces Memorial. After the ceremony, the Scouts place over 800 flags on veterans’ graves. Album from this year’s event can be seen by going to: http://on.fb.me/t737vetalbum10

  2. As the COR for a Cub Pack chartered to a VFW Post, they are always looking for scouts to be apart of their Veteran’s Day Ceremonies, whether they are Cubs, Boy Scouts, Venture Crew members, or Girl Scouts. Seek out your local VFW or American Legion and volunteer to help raise the flag, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, or just to be there to thank a veteran.

  3. Troop 87 in Corpus Christi, Texas will place 120 US Flags in Yards of homes near our meeting place. The troop does this 7 times a year during patriotic days.

  4. Ralph Riegel Scouit Master - Troop 127 // December 11, 2010 at 8:47 pm // Reply

    Our troop every year (2010 – 5th year) has a very day ceremony at the local American Legion. This year we honored 31 local veterans, who stood in front / facing the scouting in formation with the veterans giving their name, rank, branch of service and job in the military. The scouts then honored each veteran with a American Flag – Veteran “thank you” pin. Once everybody came to atttention, the scouts presented a salute to honor the veterans and the five branches of the military songs were played.
    Very successful – you can review the ceremony on http://www.wfmz69news.com/bucks
    (Boy Scouts Honor Vetreans)
    We made this a community event which gets better each year.

  5. For the last two years, we’ve moved our troop meeting to a local retirement home and conducted a flag retirement ceremony for the residents. Typically, as flags are retired, the names of veterans in troop families are read. Residents, who are veterans, are also recognized.

  6. Rozalinda Sitler // November 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm // Reply

    Troop 533 is having their 4th annual wreath laying ceremony at a veterans memorial. This year it will be more special because my husband’s name is also on it (he is a former scoutmaster of the troop). We also help with a wreath cleanup I’m February at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery (where my husband is). It is a good connection for the scouts Rozalinda Sitler. scoutmaster troop 533

  7. One thing Is simple. So many people get Memorial Day and Veterans Day confused, so teach your Scouts the difference in a Scoutmasters Minute.

    Memorial Day is used to honor those who died defending the country, and started as Decoration Day when the graves of Civil War dead were decorated with flowers.

    Veterans Day started as Armistice Day to recognize the ending of World War I on November 11, 1918 and the service of Veterans in that conflict. After World War II, it was expanded to recognize Veterans of all wars.

    Some confusion results because our British Commonwealth allies didn’t already have a Memorial Day, so November 11 serves both functions for them as their Remembrance Day.

    So it isn’t really correct to thank US living veterans on Memorial Day, although most will smile nicely and say thank you despite your error. But please do so on Veterans Day.

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