Memorial Day: Women and Men in the Military

Rise Skobeloff is a mosaic artist and art teacher. This is her second semester volunteering with Art Sphere. She loves to work with students to help them discover their voice through art and self expression and shares this lesson plan in recognition of the important work her husband does in hospitals.


Memorial Day is typically the last Monday in May each year and at time for honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Maybe, this Memorial Day in 2020, has an even greater significance than ever as more people realize the important character that it takes to care and take risks for others and are touched personally by the loss of loved ones from the pandemic. During the COVID-19, we are more aware of many service workers and their families who also make sacrifices for the safety of others in our country. There are many ways we can show appreciation for these heroes.  Starting conversations through the process of making art together can provide an opportunity to learn how the military women and men had the courage to serve our country. This project provides an opportunity for students to ask relatives about family members who served during WWI, WWll, Vietnam, and other conflicts.

Doctors, nurses, transportation workers, grocery and pharmacy staff, postal workers and many others are now also considered on the “front line” risking their lives to serve others. We can all contribute support to these caring heroes by supporting their efforts. Inspired by their leadership, in our small way, we too, can be heroes and make a small sacrifice to serve the common good, simply by wearing a mask in public spaces.

Travel Kit

  • Printable mask, flag or plain paper
  • Crayons, markers or colored pencils
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Materials for collage -magazines, newspapers, scrap material

Step #1 – Print out mask handout page or draw your own mask and add a flag or stars. See how to draw stars and the American flag here.

Step #2  -Use colors to decorate your mask drawing. Consider making patriotic by adding Stars and Stripes in the background.

Step #3  -Ask your parent/relative to tell you about any members of your family who served in the military.  Which wars did they serve? WWI, WWII, Vietnam, or others. See symbols of Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard to add to your drawing to commemorate your family member’s branch of service. Make it a collage by gluing scraps of fabric for mask, photos of family member or other symbols.

Step #4  -Tape your finished mask or picture of flag in your window on Memorial Day to show that you remember people who served in the military and people who passed who were frontline workers and those who are currently heroically working to save lives from the COVID-19.

Step #5 – Take a moment of silence for remembrance which occurs nationally at 3:00 p.m. local time to actively participate in national honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military as each year on Memorial Day .

Extend the Journey: 

Learn more about lesser known Poppy Day, the Friday before Memorial Day.

Unlike other countries, Americans don’t typically wear poppies on November 11 (Veterans Day), which honors all living veterans. We wear the symbolic red flower on Memorial Day—to commemorate the sacrifice of those who have given their lives fighting for their country. Learn why here and read a poem that inspires remembrance.

“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Learn new Vocabulary:

Frontline, veterans, remembrance, Stars and Stripes, Poppies