November 9, 2001

"Lessons of Liberty": National Veterans Awareness Week

November 11 has a special meaning on two fronts this year. November 11 is Veterans Day, and it also marks the two-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thousands of our men and women in uniform are overseas helping to secure our freedom and bring to justice those responsible for attacking America on September 11. They are acting with the same courage and sense of purpose as the veterans we honor on Veterans Day.

One way to help the next generation of Americans better understand the values, commitment and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform is to bring them into direct contact with those who have served our nation in the past. The "Lessons of Liberty" initiative is designed to give the next generation of Americans a unique opportunity to learn firsthand from our nation's veterans.

Schools will have access to a multitude of resources for participating in the "Lessons of Liberty" initiative through the Department of Education. Schools, educators, parents and students can visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website at: www.va.gov/vetsday to find classroom materials and curricula, ideas for activities, and resources for getting in touch with a veteran in their community. This site will also be accessible through the Department of Education website at: www.ed.gov.

Leading veterans organizations - including the veterans of foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Military Order of the World Wars - are supporting the effort and can be reached through these websites. These sites will bring together the efforts of many veterans organizations.

The "Lessons of Liberty" initiative can be continued throughout the year through a variety of activities, including:

For Elementary and Middle School Students:

•Read books about American history and government

•Learn about outstanding leaders in America, past and present

•Visit a historic site, such as a battleground

•"Adopt an older American" and become a friend with a veteran

•Participate in the "Friendship through Education" initiative

For high school students:

•Register to vote

•Pledge to mentor younger students on the "Lessons of Liberty"

•Volunteer in community organizations and organize student public service projects

•Participate in the "Friendship through Education" initiative

For parents, teachers and administrators:

•Prepare students for veteran visits through civics lessons

•Lesson plan website links available at www.va.gov/vetsday

•Encourage community service for students through veteran programs

Remarks by President Bush in the Announcement of the Lessons of Liberty Initiative at Wootten High School

The following is an excerpt of President Bush's October 30 speech on the Lessons of Liberty Initiative:

... This country has always been able to count on men and women of great courage. From the day America was founded, 48 million have worn the uniform of the United States. More than 25 million veterans are living today, some of whom are with us at Wootten High...

We must remember that many who served in our military never lived to be called veterans. We must remember many had their lives changed forever by experiences or the injuries of combat. All veterans are examples of service and citizenship for every American to remember and follow.

In 12 days, on Veterans Day, we will honor them... We will remember a generation that liberated Europe and Asia, and put an end to concentration camps. We will remember generations that fought in the cold mountains of Korea, and manned the outposts of the Cold War. We will remember those who served in the jungles of Vietnam, and on the sands of the Persian Gulf. In each of these conflicts, Americans answered danger with incredible courage...

Today I have a special mission for our veterans, and a special request for our schools. I ask all public, private and home schools to join our Lessons of Liberty Initiative, by inviting a veteran to speak to your students during the week of Veteran's Day...

In addition to launching Lessons of Liberty, I will sign a proclamation in a minute, asking all Americans to observe the week of November 11 as National Veterans Week. In these difficult days here in America, I ask all of us, children and adults, to remember the valor and sacrifice of our veterans. American veterans have extraordinary stories. We should listen to them. American veterans preserved our world and freedom, and we should honor them.

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