To help students have a meaningful Nov. 11, Tennessee History for Kids is trying to identify veterans who work at public schools.

The educational non-profit is creating a list of teachers, teacher’s aides, cafeteria workers, school nurses, bus drivers, and principals who served in the U.S. military. On Veterans Day, it will publish the list on the TN History for Kids website ( It will be arranged by county and contain short summaries of what each veteran did in the service.

I want every student who has a veteran for a teacher to see a photo of that teacher when they were in uniform. If their assistant principal did a tour in Afghanistan, I want them to know what that assistant principal did. If their bus driver served on a Navy destroyer, I want them to know that.

If their custodian did a tour in Vietnam, then we want the students to recognize him and brag about him to their parents.

It is important to remember that Wednesday, Nov. 11, is a school day for many of Tennessee’s school systems.

The vast majority of students never go to Veterans Day parades or ceremonies. That may not be a bad thing, since the last Veterans Day parade I went to included so more reenactors and elected officials who weren’t actually veterans than it did actual veterans.

On Veterans Day, TN History for Kids will do unveil of video presentations on its website, spaced throughout the day so school systems can tune in at different times. During these Veterans Day “shows,” I will interview veterans who work at schools, to let students hear some great stories and show them how to ask veterans the right questions.

Asking a veteran what he or she did when they were in the military is more meaningful than saying ‘thank you for your service’ and walking away, which seems to have become the standard behavior, who was a naval flight officer from 1987 to 1992.

If you are a veteran who works in public schools or you know one who is, please email Carey at with his or her contact information.


TN History for Kids produces a website, booklets, videos, posters, trading cards and does training to help teachers learn and teach Tennessee history and basic social studies. Carey is also a monthly history columnist for Tennessee Magazine, which is produced by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

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