Share your military experience

Veterans Day is a time to honor veterans from all wars. As the symbolic day approaches, I encourage Legionnaires to visit students in the classrooms to share their military service and what it means to be patriotic. The American Legion believes that our military veterans are living textbooks of American History, and their accounts of experiences while in uniform should be preserved and shared with others, especially with students in America’s schools.

The American Legion has educational materials that posts can purchase at nominal cost through Emblem Sales to support a veterans in the classroom program. Examples include full color comic books such as "I Pledge Allegiance," "Our Country’s Veterans" and "Our Country’s Flag;" the "Let’s Be Right on Flag Etiquette" booklet; and two DVDs titled "For Which It Stands" and "America’s Veterans."

The educational materials can be located and purchased online under Americanism and flag education:

Legionnaires can also get involved with the Joe Foss Institute’s "Veterans Inspiring Patriotism" program, which has veterans nationwide teach young people (kindergarten through 12th grade) in the classroom about patriotism, public service, integrity and appreciation for America’s military. A 2014 Child Welfare Foundation recipient, the Joe Foss Institute was founded in 2001 by the late World War II Marine and Medal of Honor recipient Gen. Joe Foss.

Veterans who participate in the Veterans Inspiring Patriotism program speak to students for about 45 minutes on who Joe Foss was, their personal military service and what it means to be patriotic. The veteran also provides the classroom with a 2-by-3 U.S. flag and copies of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Sharing your military experience with students today is vital as the U.S. flag is disappearing daily in classrooms and young people are not being educated on what it means to be a patriotic citizen and the understanding of a veterans sacrifice. It is up to us to continue educating America’s youth today in effort to create future leaders for tomorrow.