ArticleMay 23rd, 2014
Memorial Day celebrates those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country
For many, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but it is also a time when many Americans reflect on the sacrifices of members of the armed forces. With more than 1 million people on active U.S. military duty around the world, many people will spend Monday, May 26, honoring Americans who have died while serving in the military.
Memorial Day was originally created in 1868 to honor Union soldiers who died while fighting in the Civil War. Because of this, Southern states did not observe Memorial Day until after World War I, when the holiday was expanded to include all soldiers killed in all wars. Originally called “Decoration Day,” because of the tradition of decorating the graves of the war dead, Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11 and honors living veterans.
U.S. plans to bring troops home by end of 2014
The White House announced in February that President Obama has told the Pentagon, the home of the Department of Defense, to prepare to bring all American troops home at the end of 2014.
The U.S. military has been engaged in a war against the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist political organization, the terrorist group al-Qaeda and other militant groups in Afghanistan since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Use this lesson plan to teach the history and importance of Veterans Day. Includes videos, a timeline and an interactive map.
However, in 2012, a year after al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed by troops in Pakistan, a Pew Research poll showed that 60 percent of Americans supported a quick troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Even when they return from combat, veterans face many challenges back home.
Many soldiers who have seen combat suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder sometimes developed after an individual experiences one or more traumatic events.
Recently, the Obama administration has come under fire after allegations arose that officials in the Veterans Affairs (VA) administration had delayed treatment for veterans and falsified data to hide the long waiting periods for receive medical care at VA hospitals.
President Obama warned that there will be repercussions if it is found these accusations are true.
“I will not stand for it, not as commander in chief, but also not as an American. None of us should,” he said at a recent White House press conference. “So, if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.”
How to recognize Memorial Day
There are many ways for Americans to be active participants in Memorial Day. Some of the suggestions put forth by The National WWII Museum include changing your Facebook profile to display a picture of an American flag or a photo of someone who gave their life in the line of duty to show pride in American veterans.
The museum also encourages young people to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper explaining what Memorial Day means to you. Placing an American flag or flowers on a veteran’s grave is another show of support.
“The National Moment of Remembrance” will take place at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. It is a national moment of silence lasting one minute to remember those who have died while serving in the military.
Students living on a military base in Bahrain reflect on how their parents’ careers have affected their lives.
– Compiled by Allison McCartney for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
- A fresh look at Thanksgiving
PBS NewsHour Extra brings you a fresh look on America’s original holiday with a roundup…historyindigenousmapsnativesocial studiesthanksgiving
- Obama orders deportation relief for millions of immigrants
Obama announced a large-scale executive action on immigration that will allow nearly five million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country. Continue readingimmigrationObamaSocial Issuessocial studies
- Alaskan Native students stay and teach
In Alaska, teachers are working to address graduation rates by incorporating Native Alaskan traditions into the classroom. Continue readingAlaskaAmerican GraduateeducationNative American
- “Liberians are not a virus”—fighting Ebola stigma
“Ebola does not look for a specific group of people to prey on.” Continue readingEbolaLiberiaSocial IssuesStudent Voices
- Jerusalem attack escalates violence in region
Two Palestinian men murdered four people at a synagogue in Jerusalem yesterday in the deadliest attack on the city in six years. Continue readingHamasIslamIsraelJudaismPalestine