Veteran’s Day – The Wall

In looking around for a book that I thought might be appropriate to share with young children, I finally came across The Wall, by Eve Bunting. Sometimes I think that there are so many days off and “sales” associated with holidays that children (and even grownups!)  forget who and what we are supposed to be honoring/remembering. So today let’s take just a minute and tell all veterans “Thank You” for a job well done, for keeping America the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The Wall is a lovely story of a father and son who go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. On this day, the pair are visiting the wall to find the name of the little boy’s grandfather. As they move along the path, the boy notices all the items that people leave behind for their loved ones – pictures, stuffed animals, letters. And, he sees another little boy, with his grandfather, and thinks about what it might have been like if his own grandfather had been here with him. He leaves a picture of himself in the grass by his Grandpa’s name and piles some stones on top of it, so that it doesn’t blow away.

The Wall is a sombre and moving story about loss, remembering and honoring our Veterans. A good choice, I think.

Family at the Vietnam Memorial

Visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, take rubbings of the name, of a family member. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Warrant Officer Seth Rossman

If you have never been to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – it is “a wall,” actually two gabbro (a rock similar to basalt) walls. When a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. One wall points toward the Washington Monument, the other in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial. There are more than 58,000 names carved into the wall.

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