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Teaching about Memorial Day

May 7 2008

Memorial Day, formerly called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in the service of the country. Materials for educators are plentiful.

At the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the exhibit The Price of Freedom: Americans at War looks at the history of America's military from the French and Indian Wars to the present military action in Iraq. Resources include a teacher's manual, worksheets and images for classroom use.

The Library of Congress summarizes the history of Memorial Day and provides links to related resources. Also at the Library of Congress: the Veterans History Project, a dynamic archive and exhibit site, collects and preserves audiovisual materials, oral histories, diaries and letters, artifacts, and other personal accounts of America's veterans from World War I to the present. This rich primary source site offers ideas on how to initiate veteran's oral history projects.

Education World lists five classroom activities for Memorial Day applicable for grades K-12.

The Gilder Lehrman Institutepresents an online exhibition of letters and audio, Battle Lines: Letters from America's Wars. These primary source materials cover more than 200 years of American history, from the Revolutionary War to the present. Materials are divided into chapters: Enlisting, Comforts of Home, Love, Combat, and The End of War.

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