Korean War Legacy Project

Honoring Sacrifice


Honoring Sacrifice:
A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Korean War

This volume has been produced in an effort to improve our understanding of the human dimensions of the Korean War. The Korean War Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, a public reminder seen by countless visitors each year, has helped to raise public awareness of the hardships that Korean War veterans faced both in combat and after returning to the United States. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) engages in intensive analytical and scientific research to identify and repatriate the remains of American soldiers who went missing during the conflict. It also communicates with and holds updates for families of these soldiers. The work of this book seeks to capture the intersection of the work of DPAA and the function of the Korean War Veterans Memorial through multiple lessons each focused on one academic discipline.

Chapter 1: Literature

In this lesson, students analyze Pericles’ Funeral Oration through the lens of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Working with one other peer, pairs of students will analyze either Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address which was modeled after the Funeral Oration, or one of the speeches given to honor Korean War veterans and those who have been Prisoners of Wars or those Missing In Action. After comparing their analysis of the assigned speech with another team, students will share their work with other classmates, preferably those who did not read the same speech, to gain a greater understanding of rhetorical analysis. Students will focus on central themes such as sacrifice and patriotism, and be introduced to important concepts such as "imagined communities" as part of their reading and overall analysis. Finally, students will compare their assigned speech to Pericles’ Funeral Oration to draw a conclusion based on the themes and rhetoric used by these orators.

Chapter 2: History

In this lesson students will explore the major events of the Korean War, the outcomes of the war, and the impacts the war had on veterans during and after the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement. Students will use primary source images, maps, and brief documents to better understand the lasting impacts of the Korean War. Students will also use analysis and reasoning skills to assess which events had the greatest impact on the outcome of the war. Students will study the sacrifices made by the soldiers fighting in the war and the continued struggle that many of these veterans faced after returning from the “Forgotten War.”

Chapter 3: Human Geography

Students will first examine the hometown of a Korean War soldier to see what life was like in the 1940s. Next, students will examine a place the soldier served during the Korean War. Students will also consider the similarities and differences between the soldier’s hometown and their place of service in Korea. Then students will examine characteristics of that same place in Korea today, paying attention for evidence of continuity and/ or change. Lastly, students will make an evidence-based argument as to the extent to which the Korean War changed Korea.

Chapter 4: Art

Students will learn about an analytical framework helping them formally analyze art through Form, Function, Content, and Context. Each of the four components allows artists to create meaningful work and helps audi- ences interpret their work. In this lesson, students will practice art analysis of three main parts of the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Students will begin by examining the 19 statues of soldiers through video; still image audio from the sculptor and text from one of the two architects. Next, using a combination of still images, video and text excerpts from the designer of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Mural, students will formally analyze the Mural Wall and the newly designed and constructed Wall of Remembrance. Students will then analyze and evaluate how the memorial’s components honor the sacrifices of those who served in a quick writing exercise.

Chapter 5: STEM-H Part1

Students will be introduced to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) - the work and its critical role in honoring the sacrifices of POW/MIAs through investigation, recovery, and identification. Working in groups, students will analyze one of three investigation folders centered on the Jangjin (Chosin) Reservoir, POWs, and Air Warfare. Students will work with an overview narrative, maps, Korean War veteran oral histories, and historical documents and photos to better understand the context and complexities involved in the background research phase of investigation, which is a cornerstone of DPAA’s work. Students will complete investigation folder task questions and work collaboratively to draw connections to DPAA’s investigative efforts.

Chapter 6: STEM-H Part 2

The work of the DPAA is a complex, interdisciplinary team effort to complete the task of investigating, recovering, and identifying the remains of service members lost in the Korean War. In this lesson, students will build on the work from the folder groups established in the STEM-H Part 1 lesson by exploring and practicing with analytical tools similar to those employed by DPAA experts throughout the process. The analytical components of the lesson include calculating estimated locations of aircraft losses based on data from hypothetical combat missions and a field search exercise evaluating potential crash site locations. Also, students will be challenged to develop a hypothesis, gather data, and test their hypothesis while considering the relationship between limb segment measurements and a person’s stature (height). Finally, students will evaluate the value of various types of DNA evidence in excluding possible identities of missing personnel. As the lesson culminates, students will reflect on the identification of service personnel through these skills as each group will be asked to complete tasks based on a fictional air crew in the context of their portion of the lesson.

Chapter 7: Experiential Learning

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is located near the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was dedicated on July 27, 1995. The Memorial was designed and financed by private contributions and erected under the auspices of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board composed of Korean War veterans. The memorial was redesigned in 2021-22 with the addition of the Wall of Remembrance and was rededicated on July 27, 2022. The memorial commemorates the sacrifices of the 5.8 million Americans who served in the U.S. armed services during the three-year period of the Korean War. The Memorial consists of four parts: the Statues, the Mural Wall, the Wall of Remembrance and the United Nations Wall.

This project was made possible through the generous support of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs

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