As Veterans Day approaches on November 11th in the States, I consider the many people in my own life who have served our country. My father, both grandfathers, paternal grandmother (a Marine in the late 1950s!) and numerous uncles are veterans. One of my cousins is still actively serving abroad while his brother recently ended his time in the army and is in the police academy. A dear friend’s husband served two long tours in Kuwait and Afghanistan at the peak of the war initiated by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Simply writing this out is a sobering reality of the world we live in and the sacrifices people make to defend freedom. My husband and I have had deep conversations about the tension between the Biblical command to love your enemy and the need to take a stance against evil. Even the thought of pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer participating in a secret plot to assassinate Hitler causes conflicting feelings within me.
Regardless of my shifting feelings as I consider these issues – and whatever your personal stance on the military – I strongly believe that veterans and those choosing to serve our country deserve our respect. And the book Brave Like Me by Barbara Kerley wonderfully and tactfully explains the feelings and thoughts of children who miss their parents while they are gone, ranging from fear to sadness to anger. If you know a child whose parent is actively serving in the military, I believe this will book be a helpful resource for you.
Note: Many of the stunning and touching photos for the book are of real military families and there is one photo of active-duty soldiers with weapons. Please use take a look at the book in advance to determine whether or not the images are appropriate for you classroom or family use.
Best Ages: kindergarten & up