Use this preteen Sunday school lesson: Memorial Day to help children understand and honor those who’ve served.
1. A Special Guest: Invite a veteran to talk with your class about his or her wartime experience. Ask the veteran to share about missing home, friends he or she made or lost, and daily events.
Say: “This week we’re celebrating Memorial Day. What is Memorial Day? On Memorial Day, we remember those who died in wars. Because they died, we have freedom.”
Introduce your guest as someone who was willing to fight for your country.
Encourage kids to ask questions after your guest speaks. Then thank your guest.
2. For a Friend: Read aloud John 15:13. Have kids form pairs to discuss the following questions. Allow two minutes for discussion after each question; then have one or two pairs tell their thoughts.
The questions: What do you think this verse means? Jesus showed us his love by dying for us. Who would you be willing to die for? What would be the hardest part about dying for someone?
3. Thanks a Lot: Say: “Let’s show our appreciation to the veterans in our church for being willing to die for our country. Provide art supplies to make thank you cards.” Deliver the cards to the veterans in your church.
4. In Memory: Close with this short prayer, “Thank you Lord for those who died in war.” Have each child thank God for one freedom or privilege we have because others died. For example, kids may pray, “Thank you that we have schools.”
5. Snack: In clear cups, layer sliced strawberries and blueberries. Finish with a dollop of whipped topping and serve to your class, reminding them to be thankful for people who are willing to die for our country.
Ask: “Why were you willing to give up your treat? How’s it feel to know others will enjoy a yummy snack because of what you gave up? Soon we’ll celebrate Memorial Day. That’s when we remember all the American men and women who died serving our country. Why do you think they gave their lives?”
Ask: “Would any of you like to give your snack to a student in another class?”
Say: “You gave up your treat so friends could enjoy something special. That’s like the men and women who gave their lives so we could enjoy living in America. God gave something special for us, too.” (Read the Scripture.) “God gave his son Jesus so we could enjoy eternal life in heaven.” (Distribute cups of Cheezits or some other snack.) “As you eat your special treat, remember that many brave Americans gave their lives for our country. Let’s thank God for the wonderful sacrifice he made for us, too.” (Close in prayer.)