How to observe Veterans Day with your Boy Scout troop or Cub Scout pack

With nearly 24 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. Take a moment to watch the video above. It’s an inspirational look at Veterans Day and what Nov. 11 means to the individuals being recognized.

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.

Write a letter to a veteran

In 2010, the BSA released some tips for Scouts on writing a letter to a veteran. Here are a few:

  • 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.

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 PDF) 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 a Veterans Day speech given by a U.S. President or other top official.

You’ll find dozens of speeches available on the VA’s site, including last year’s speech by President Barack Obama, several addresses by George W. Bush, and two by 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!

5 thoughts on “How to observe Veterans Day with your Boy Scout troop or Cub Scout pack

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

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