Sandwiched between the excitement of Halloween and Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day is easy to overlook. But, it’s actually a day full of family friendly events and activities that teach kids about sacrifice and giving back to the community. From attending a local concert by the Iowa Military Veterans Band to making thank you cards, here are a few ways you can celebrate the veterans of our armed forces with the whole family in Des Moines.
Veterans Day celebrates the people who have served in the U.S. military during times of war and peace. It’s held annually on November 11th and coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I.
Veteran’s Day Ceremonies and Events in Des Moines
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – 9:00am to 4:30pm; State Historical Museum of Iowa
One-hundred years ago, the United States and its allies signed an armistice with Germany that ended hostilities on World War I’s Western Front. Commemorate the milestone anniversary on November 10 and honor those who served and sacrificed in the name of freedom. There will be open-house programs throughout the day,
Sunday, November 11, 2018 – 8:00 am; Iowa Veterans Cemetery (Interstate 80 at exit 113, Van Meter)
A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Sunday, November 11, 2018 – 2:00 pm; Des Moines Civic Center, Des Moines
The Iowa Military Veterans Band presents a “Star Spangled Salute to Veterans” at their traditional Veterans Day Concert at the Des Moines Civic Center. Join them for this FREE concert to salute veterans.
Sunday, November 11, 2018 – 2:00 pm; Highland Park American Legion Post #374
At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th Month, 1918, an Armistice went into effect ending World War I. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Highland Park American Legion Post #374 are teaming up to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of both the Armistice and the founding of the American Legion, by offering a “music hall” experience where songs from the World War I era will be sung. This event is FREE and open to the public.
Sunday, November 11, 22018 – 11:00 am; Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (Veterans Memorial)
This annual event includes representatives from all Veterans Service Organizations, speakers, musical interlude, and other program events that vary each year.
Attractions that offer Veteran’s Day Activities and Discounts in Des Moines
Veterans receive FREE admission on Veteran’s Day (Sunday, November 11, 2018) from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Many Hy-Vee stores celebrate Veterans Day each year by offering a FREE breakfast buffet to all veterans and active-duty military members.
The museum will be open on Veteran’s Day (Sunday, November 11, 2018) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Admission is always FREE.
Veterans receive FREE admission on Veteran’s Day (Saturday, November 11th, 2018) from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
All military veterans and their immediate families are entitled to $2 off general admission on Veteran’s Day and throughout the year at the Science Center of Iowa.
Veterans, active duty military and members of the Guard and Reserve are invited to use any of the Y’s facilities FREE of charge on Veteran’s Day.
5 Ways Kids Can Thank a Veteran
Write thank you cards to veterans.
Kids can write a thank you card to a veteran. They can give this card to a veteran that they know; to veterans who are listed through the VA Central Iowa Health Care System; or visit A Million Thanks an online service that will tell you exactly where to mail a thank you card, letter, email or prayer message of appreciation to our military, past and present.
Thank a veteran in person at a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) location.
Get outside the house and thank a veteran, and at the same time, hand out drawings or treats. Have your kiddos draw pictures or bake a snack. Then find a VFW location close to you and drop by for a visit on Veteran’s Day. This is a great way for even the youngest kiddos to put a face to the word “veteran” and to say thank you.
Host a Collection Drive for Care Packages
Ask kids to bring donations of beef jerky, lip balm, deodorant, gum, socks and more to your house and help fill care packages for Operation Gratitude. The organization sends Care Packages filled with entertainment, hygiene, and handmade items, non-perishable snacks, and personal letters of appreciation to U.S. Troops, First Responders, Veterans, Military Families, and Wounded Heroes and their Care Givers.
Host a Service Day
Just because kids are too young to serve in the military doesn’t mean they can’t serve their country in other ways. On Veteran’s Day, invite a group of your child’s friends to help at a local food pantry, pick up litter, take treats to a senior center or volunteer their time in some other way.
Learn More About Veterans
Even if your kids don’t know someone directly involved in the military, Veteran’s Day can be an opportunity to teach them about the sacrifices other families make or have made for their country.
How does your family celebrate Veterans Day? Tell us in the Comments section below.
The featured photo is a picture of my son wearing my grandfather’s WW II Navy uniform.