With the anniversary of 9/11 coming up, I wanted to share a project idea with you that our classroom did last year. It’s always a difficult day for me as a teacher, especially as the years pass and my current students have only heard stories about that day. They have no way to relate to the tragedy that I struggle to teach them about through my own tears. I usually read Fireboat and let the conversation and questions go from there.
But last spring, a new project crossed my desk thanks to a fourth grade teacher in our building. One of her students had a grandfather who was going on an Honor Flight. She asked the school to contribute letters to his specific flight. It was so touching! I immediately thought this would be a project we could do in the future along with 9/11 as we talk about the brave people who serve our country, both in our communities and abroad.
In case you haven’t heard of Honor Flights, the inaugural Honor Flight Tour took place in May of 2005. Six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio taking twelve World War II veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington, DC. In August of 2005, an ever-expanding waiting list of veterans led to the transition to commercial airline carriers with the goal of accommodating as many veterans as possible. They are currently working to expand their programs to other cities across the nation.
The time is especially important because according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Honor Flight Network will continue do whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans and help our heroes travel absolutely free. After this, they’ll focus on Korean and Vietnam veterans.
So what can you do in your classroom? You can check this map to find a regional location near you. Then you can have your students write letters and draw pictures to give to these veterans as they return home from their flight. They especially love hearing from children, knowing the sacrifices they made so long ago were for these future generations. You can also make a donation of any size. What if every student brought in a quarter, fifty cents, or even a dollar?
Together, we really can make a difference while teaching our students about tolerance, peace, and responsibility to our communities.