Three Poems for Veterans Day

Now’s a good time to reflect on patriotism

The student council at my high school is planning a Veterans Day Assembly (an outside, drive-thru assembly of sorts) for the upcoming holiday on Thursday, November 11. One of the members popped into my room and suggested that students write patriotic poems that could be read at the assembly.

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And, you know what? This school year is zooming by so quickly, I honestly hadn’t given Veterans Day any thought yet.

So… WOW! Don’t you love it when students give you an idea???

I thanked this awesome stu-co member for the idea, and got busy planning a Veterans Day assignment for my new poetry class instead.

Those poems are due on this upcoming Tuesday and I can’t wait to read them.

As for my students, I know that being told to write a patriotic poem out of the blue might cause some of them to draw a complete blank.

I would draw a blank, too. I get it.

So I consulted the Poetry Machine at Creative Communication to adapt a few ideas to give my students some inspiration.

I use the word “adapt” because the Creative Communication websites primarily serves elementary and middle school students and teachers. Many of the poetry forms and examples are definitely NOT high school-level. Still, I did find three poem forms that, while brief, should still help me accomplish my goal: to give my students a poetic nudge to celebrate Veterans Day this year.

Here are the three poem ideas I adapted for my students:

The List Poem

  • This poem suggests that younger students find a place, such as a locker, and then simply list what they would find there. I changed it up a bit and asked students to think figuratively and literally.
  • For example, my juniors could explore:
    • What’s in the heart of a veteran?
    • What’s in a soldier’s rucksack?
  • A final summarizing line would conclude their list and also help form the their poem’s title.

The Hold On Poem

  • This poem suggests that students think of various precious concepts (ideals or personal qualities such as enthusiasm, courage, or love), and insist those concepts be cherished and maintained at all costs.
  • For example, my juniors could write about holding on to patriotism, even when they feel it’s being diminished or challenged.
  • Students would continue to explore the notion of “holding on” to other related concepts in this poem. Here’s a quick example: Hold on to hope / Even when hope seems to fail. / Hold on to the struggle / Even when the struggle gets tough.
Heart hands reveal the American flag. Veterans Day poems honor our country.
Photo by Edgar Colomba from Pexels

The Holiday Poem

  • I almost left this one off my assignment sheet as it seems a little basic. However, I decided to leave it in the mix, since it still might provide students some inspiration, plus it highlights the power of sensory language.
  • I decided to require that students include two items or objects for each sense. The version for younger grades just required one.
  • This one has an easy title: Veterans Day, which is followed by two things one sees on Veterans Day, then two things one smells on the day. The poem continues, respectively, with hearing, tasting, and touching, and then ends with the title line.
  • Again, it’s probably the “easiest” of the bunch, but it will no doubt be just the nudge that a few students need.

To purchase this $2 handout that contains all three of these poem ideas, download it from my Tpt store. Please let me know how it works for you and feel free to leave any feedback about the assignment or this handout either here on my Contact page or on TpT.

Let’s not get so distracted…

…that we overlook the importance of Veterans Day. Now more than ever, we need to focus on national unity. Writing a Veterans Day poem will be an effective way to do that.

Have a great week!


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Published by Marilyn Yung

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5 thoughts on “Three Poems for Veterans Day

  1. Reblogged this on ELA Brave and True by Marilyn Yung and commented:

    Veterans Day is right around the corner. If you need a quick poetry activity to celebrate veterans and their special day, read about these easy ideas in this post. The ideas are simple and easily replicable right from the details here, but if you’d rather have a handout for students to use and teach from, go to Teacher Pay Teachers (Store name: Marilyn Yung ELA Brave and True) for the resource. See link at end of the post below. Have a great week and Happy Veterans Day!

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