In 2013 District 11 partnered with The American Legion to bring the Saluting America program to our schools for the first time. Forty schools embraced the opportunity to honor veterans and active duty military for the sacrifice they made to protect the freedom of our country. Tribute Cards signed by students and staff numbered 25,167 and were distributed to tens of thousands of veterans and active duty military in our community and throughout the world. In 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 District 11 continued honoring veterans through the Saluting America project with 100% of our schools participating in a variety of ways.
In the sixth year of this project, we will continue the tradition of honoring veterans throughout our community and across the world in a variety of ways. District 11 will celebrate Saluting America from November 5 – November 16. If your intention is to have a guest speaker from the American Legion, active duty military at Peterson Air Force Base or Ft. Carson or other retired military organizations in our community, please keep in mind that scheduling it on another day instead of November 12 will result in greater likelihood that these folks will be available. Active duty military have a day off on November 12.
Also be mindful that this is a time to honor veterans. A simple gesture of inviting them to a light breakfast where students read an original poem or essay rather than having a veteran speak may be as meaningful to them.
The Saluting America program educates and instills a strong sense of patriotism in America’s youth, raises awareness of America’s cherished values, and honors the sacrifices made by our nation’s active military and veterans.
There are two components to the Saluting America program that facilitates student/staff engagement:
- Tribute Cards – Principals are asked to distribute a card to every student and staff member to write and express their thoughts and sentiments about Veterans and/or active military personnel. Schools may encourage students to give these cards to 1) a veteran or military service member they know, 2) collect them and bring them to a unit or nursing home, or 3) collect them for The American Legion to pick up for distribution.
Please distribute your completed student Tribute cards to Veterans and active duty military personnel at your school and in your community throughout the school year. Encourage students to be “date” neutral on their Tribute Card message, allowing the card to be appropriate whenever it is received and read.
Direct delivery by you of completed student Tribute Cards to Veterans, military personal and the organizations that support them personalizes the gratitude and tribute expressed by your school and students.
All schools will receive their Saluting America Tribute cards the week of October 15th if they register by the deadline of October 5th. Cards will be distributed by the warehouse delivery/pickup schedule. Please view the schedule at the following link https://www.d11.org/Page/6554
- Saluting America Celebration Events – schools may plan events that include visits and presentations by veterans, active military and honored guests. The events should be designed to honor these important people and to encourage students to interact with them and learn from them. The American Legion and D11 Volunteer Services will support these events by assisting schools with contacting veterans and military service members to participate.
All classroom enrichment speakers must be registered through Volunteer Services. Teachers scheduling the speaker themselves need to provide Joan Sousa with date, time, speaker’s contact information – name, organization/business (if applicable), email, telephone, mailing address, grade, number of students, and topic.
Joan will create a confirmation email that is copied to teacher, volunteer speaker, and administrative assistant.
Please do not have guest speakers complete a Volunteer Registration form. This confirmation is verifying their registration with Volunteer Services.
- Secondary Principals/Teachers – an additional resource designed for supplementary use at the secondary level, the Medal of Honor: Lessons of Personal Bravery and Self-Sacrifice, is a resource designed by teachers to provide students with opportunities to explore the important concepts of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity, and citizenship and how these values can be exemplified in daily life. , http://www.cmohedu.org/
While drawn from the personal accounts of living Medal of Honor recipients, this collection of lesson plans does not glorify or glamorize war. On the contrary, these dramatic "living histories" and the accompanying instructional activities encourage students to consider each concept from their own perspective. The character of these men is what stands out in each story. The Medal of Honor recipients demonstrate and articulate many of the abstract principles upon which our nation was founded in a way that makes those principles very real.
It is our hope that we can successfully coordinate a Saluting America program in District 11 at every school. The minimum involvement requested is to participate in the writing and distribution of the Tribute Cards. The Saluting America Celebration Event is optional but encouraged to provide your students with the opportunity to engage with our community’s veterans and military personnel.
- A coordinating point of contact at your school for Saluting America
- The date of your celebration
- The number of Tribute Cards you are requesting
- Request Volunteer Services & Community Partnerships assistance with a community guest speaker for your celebration.
- The American Legion Centennial Post 209 has a link on the Saluting America form for you to request an honor guard visit to your school.
This information will be shared with the Superintendent, Board of Education and Executive Directors, as well as, Public Relations for community engagement.
Let’s make our Saluting America program a showcase and model for the other Districts in the Pikes Peak region.