There is an old saying, “You can’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’ve been.” Children who learn this lesson early and first-hand makes a longer impression than just reading a book in school. We have a wonderful resource for learning this here in St. Louis. Some parents might feel that it is morbid to expose their children to a cemetary but what more of a way to show respect and the history of this country and families than to bring a child to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetary. In taking your children to this wonderful, historical resource shows them respect and history.
Once you enter the cemetary, you automatically see and feel the respect all around you. As soon as you enter through the front gates, you will see white cemetary markers row after row. This is how you explain to your children the respect of what all those markers mean. Those markers mean that those men and women served in one of our armed forces to protect our freedom. Some of them died as heroes in fighting, some came back wounded for the rest of their lives, and some were lucky enough to come back and pick up life where it was left off. The wonder of the cemetary comes as you continue to drive through and continue to see the rows of markers over and over again. If you stop and get out of your car, you just hear silence and maybe the noise of the wind through the trees.
Begin looking at random plots around the cemetary, you will see markers listed with dates from a year ago – all the way back from the 1800’s. You will see Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Unknown Soldiers. Once children walk around and see the dates on the stones, this sparks interest on the history of our country and what that war meant during that time. You can talk about the different wars, what that area of the armed forces did, and where the war took place. This kind of exposure with children will prompt them to research to learn more about our countries history and even how St. Louis played a role in it all.