Honoring Lives of Service and Sacrifice on Veterans Day

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WF1869805 Shaped 2023 Blog Post Veterans Day HERO

Photo: Grace, 7 years old, and her mom, 2023, near Fort Cavazos in TX (Courtesy of Benita Flucker)

People I love come to mind immediately on Veterans Day. It’s always been an important day for me. I am a proud military daughter, U.S. Army spouse, and Blue Star Mother (a mother or stepmother who has a child serving or has been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States). So, upon reflection and appreciation for all who served and continue to serve their country, I see many members of my family as part of a long and honorable tradition of bravery and sacrifice. I’m sure I am not alone in these sentiments.

This Veterans Day, I find myself thinking a lot about my 7-year-old granddaughter Grace. Grace is a military child too, like me, and in her I recognize the resilience present in all those who give themselves over to service. She’s relocated with her family—both parents serving in the U.S. Army—several times already, changing schools three times before starting the second grade. These prodigious challenges are common for children in military families. There are over a million U.S. children in military families, and they change schools an average of six times during their K–12 schooling. This, to me, presents another perspective on service and sacrifice: “When the soldier serves, the family serves as well.”

Veteran’s Day is a day of reflection, remembrance, and appreciation for all who have served in or in support of our nation's military. At HMH, our BRAVE Employee Resource Group (ERG) proudly amplifies the unique perspective veterans and military family members bring to the workplace. And as a proud military daughter, spouse, and Blue Star Mother, I believe in the motto of the U.S. Army Equity and Inclusion Agency: “Diversity is the Force. Equity is the Goal. Inclusion is the Way.”

Amplify Voices & Perspectives

As part of Equity and Inclusion at HMH, we honor and recognize distinctive voices while promoting a sense of belonging through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). BRAVE, one of our ERGs, is dedicated to amplifying the value and unique perspectives of veterans and military family members in the workforce. This ERG has strengthened HMH’s commitment to supporting students with military-affiliated parents or guardians. BRAVE's mission aligns with advancing inclusivity at HMH by assisting veterans and their families as they transition from active-duty service to civilian life, reflecting shared values among service members, educators, and those dedicated to supporting educators.

My husband, retired Colonel Will Flucker, recently shared with me the U.S. Army Equity and Inclusion Agency's motto: "Diversity is the Force. Equity is the Goal. Inclusion is the Way." Will believes in the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly within the military. In his master's thesis, titled "Army Senior Leader Diversity: A Systems Analysis," he highlights that our nation’s complex security challenges require a high level of cognitive diversity, which can be more effectively achieved through ethnically diverse military leaders and staff. He also notes that cultural and experiential diversity enhances group creativity, analytical skills, and judgment.

"Diversity is the Force. Equity is the Goal. Inclusion is the Way”— U.S. Army Equity and Inclusion Agency

Educational Supports

I see a similar level of importance for diversity in the creation of efficacious learning solutions for all students, including those like my granddaughter Grace, who face challenges unique to schoolchildren in military families.

At HMH, we are dedicated to creating educational supports that reflect and affirm the experiences and family structures of all students. And so I’m proud to know that Grace, who is African American, AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander), and white, will find reflections of her own military family’s experience among the diverse representation in HMH content. For example, a module in our African American History program tells the story of General Benjamin O. Davis Sr., the first African American brigadier general in the U.S. Army, and his son, General Benjamin O. Davis Jr., commander of the Tuskegee Airmen and the first African American brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force.

Additionally, our social studies programs bring students face to face with the sacrifices veterans have made in the past. They can learn about World War I through a virtual field trip that allows students to explore what life was like for Allied soldiers in the trenches, or explore a virtual field trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (designed by Asian American Maya Lin). Through our HMH partner HISTORY®, students can participate in a program called Take a Veteran to School Day that allows veterans and students to make powerful personal connections.

These examples illustrate our approach to connecting and embedding the ways in which the diverse communities we serve can not only relate, but also see the possibilities for their own future and those of their community.

At HMH our embedded supports also include our recently developed Educational Equity Rubric—a tool we’ve created that identifies criteria by which we evaluate the quality of diversity and inclusivity of our programs using a scoring strategy across five equity domains. HMH’s Educational Equity Rubric is used as an architectural support for our content creation, where we ensure that unique family structures, including military families, are reflected in both the Diversity and Identity domains of the rubric.

HMH also supports inclusive curriculum with Content Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (CEID) guidelines that are used to examine the equity-centered integrity and depth of our content. Our CEID guidelines reference military families multiple times, in guidance sections on global and social issues, family structure, mental health, and socioeconomic status. I’m also encouraged, when I think of Grace and her schoolmates facing the challenges of frequent worldwide relocations with varying educational standards, that HMH has a strong commitment to providing standards-aligned support for teachers and establishing a dynamic link between rigorous efficacy-based curriculum and best-in-class assessments.

Left Photo: Visitors touch the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The memorial lists the names of the more than 58,000 service members who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. (Image ©ES James/Shutterstock); Right Photo: General Benjamin O. Davis Sr., the first African American brigadier general in the U.S. Army (©Bettmann/Getty)

Commitment to Serve and Support

All these things make me confident that we’re moving in the right direction in our support of military service people and their families, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the BRAVE Employee Resource Group, from all my family members who have served, and from veterans across the U.S. Armed Services, it’s that making a better world requires a continuing commitment. As my granddaughter Grace already knows, there’s always another challenge to rise to and overcome.

This Veterans Day, I want to thank all those who serve by honoring their sacrifice, which often extends out to their families in deeply challenging ways, and I am committed to follow the lead of the BRAVE ERG in their pledge to support military veterans, their spouses, and their families. That commitment intersects not only with my thoughts about Grace, but also with my own professional purpose as HMH’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, which is to ensure that every child has a sense that they belong in every possible educational setting, that they are cared for, and that they receive all the support they need to learn and grow.

Educational equity is a right, not a privilege!

Happy Veterans Day!


For more ways to celebrate veterans, check out these blogs:

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