OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A lot of places are catering to kids on Veterans Day, offering fun ways to educate them about the men and women who’ve served our country.
CBS2’s Elise Finch attended one of those events on Long Island.
The historic Old Westbury Gardens estate in Nassau County is known for its 200 acres of landscaped grounds. On Monday, families were able to play outside and learn more about military veterans inside.
When asked if she knows what the men and women who serve our country do, 9-year-old Anastassja Vokjan of Merrick said, “They protect our country every day.”
Paul Hunchak is the director of exhibits and programs at Old Westbury Gardens.
“We’ve always been thought of as a beautiful place for people to come and visit, but we also want to emphasize the importance of history and the legacy that the previous generations have left to us, and that’s very important here for honoring veterans of all conflicts,” Hunchak said.
Hunchak said for Veterans Day the ballroom of the Westbury House Mansion was transformed into a mini-museum. There was story time with a Vietnam vet reading from the book, “H is for Honor … A Military Family Alphabet.” There was also day-long arts and crafts where kids could create and learn. They made poppy pinwheels since red poppies commemorate military personnel who have died in war.
They also wrote thank-you letters.
“Dear veteran, you are a hero to me because you help protect our country and our lives,” Anastassja said.
“My grandpas are veterans and I really appreciate that they helped our country,” 11-year-old Mason Taylor said.
“They could have got hurt, but they didn’t and they did really good,” 8-year-old Payton Taylor added.
Parents said events like this help reinforce what their kids learn in school and at home.
“We always try to teach them when they see military to say thank you for your service, so that they’re aware and understand the importance of our military,” said Kristin Dunnigan, a mother of two from Douglaston.
Veterans like John Deignan said it’s a great way to spend Veterans Day.
“I think it’s wonderful to help further educate the children and give them an appreciation for what happens,” Deignan said.
The kids took their poppy pinwheels home. The letters they wrote will be sent to veterans.