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Veterans Day: Military kids share their experiences

November 11, 2021

This story was produced by Student Reporting Labs in 2013. The text has been updated. You’ll find that the themes are just as applicable to today.

On Veterans Day, Americans celebrate the men and women in uniform who work every day to keep the country safe. But while military personnel make great sacrifices to do their job, leaving their families for long periods at a time, putting themselves in harm’s way and frequently moving far from home, their families make sacrifices as well.

To honor veterans and current members of the U.S. armed services, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs reached out to students in 2013, living on a military base in Bahrain to ask them how their parents’ careers have affected their lives.

“We get to go to new places and different places that some people might not even heard of,” said fourth-grader Levi Jones.

“I get to travel around the world, and I learn a bunch of new languages,” said fifth-grader Aaliyah Freeman. “I speak German, French, Italian, and now I’m learning Arabic since I just moved here.

However, with all the moving, many students described the hardship of leaving their home and friends behind.

“I have to basically start a new life in a different country,” said fifth-grader Izabella Crawford. “And when I do it’s really hard.”

Micyah Watkins explained, “My mom goes away on a ship for at least about two or three years.”

“Everyone’s going through the same thing, we’re all military kids,” said high school senior Brandy Oliver.

Warm up questions
  1. What is Veterans Day? Who and what are we honoring on this day?
  2. Do you know anyone who has served in the military? What do you know about their experience? What questions would you ask them about their service, if given the chance?
  3. Have you ever moved to a new place? Was it nearby or across the globe? What were the challenges of moving to a new place?
  4. What is the longest amount of time that you have been away from your parent(s) or caregivers?
Discussion questions
  1. Why are students and their military families living in Bahrain? Where is Bahrain?
  2. What are some of the risks and benefits of living in a military family?
  3. How would you describe the character of the students you saw in the video?
  4. Which student’s story struck you the most? Why?
  5. If your parent(s) or caregivers were in the military and needed to move to a new country, how do you think you would deal with it?
  6. What do you think is the best way to honor veterans on Veterans Day?

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