Lesson Plan: P.S. Thank you!

Aim

To increase youth awareness of Canadian Armed Forces efforts in the Gulf War.

Objectives

Youth will:

  • learn about the ways Canadians helped the people of Kuwait during the Gulf War;
  • understand that our communities are places where we help one another;
  • learn about the importance of letter writing and other forms of communication in times of war and for sending messages of remembrance and thanks; and
  • make a personal connection to Gulf War Veterans or Canadian Armed Forces members.

Target audience

This activity is suitable for ages 5 to 11.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [30-45 minutes]

(This activity can be modified to fit available time.)

  • Discussion [10 minutes]
  • Read aloud [5 minutes]
  • Letter writing activity [15-30 minutes]

Materials

Discussion [10 minutes]

You may wish to read the Canadian Armed Forces and the Gulf War information sheet for your own background information.

Provide the children with a bit of an understanding about the Gulf War. Talk about how the Gulf War happened before they were even born!

On August 2, 1990, an army from the country of Iraq invaded the small neighbouring country of Kuwait. You may wish to show them where this is on a map and how far away it is from Canada.

The international community, with the approval of the United Nations (which is an international organization), responded by sending in armies from many countries (including Canada) to help get the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. The war they fought is called the Gulf War—named because both Kuwait and Iraq are on the Persian Gulf, which is a body of water in the oil-rich Middle East.

Back then, the country of Iraq wanted to take over Kuwait because they felt it should be part of their country, and wanted to get control of Kuwait’s oil supply. The President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, sent in his troops to invade Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Kuwait fell quickly to the Iraqis.

Many countries around the world didn’t approve of this bold and aggressive act. Thousands of coalition troops, as part of a United Nations mandated force, began arriving in the Persian Gulf region ready to fight Iraq. More than 4,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel would eventually serve in the tense Persian Gulf region.

Explain that the Canadian soldiers, sailors and airforce personnel went to the Persian Gulf to help stop a country that was bullying the people in Kuwait—similar to something you might see with schoolyard bullies.

The Coalition troops managed to push the Iraqis back into their own country and the war ended 25 years ago, on February 28, 1991.

Read aloud [5 minutes]

Read aloud the Treats from home story.

Have a follow up discussion. How would students feel if their family members or friends went that far away? Would it make them feel sad? Nervous? Proud? How would they feel if they were the ones receiving those special packages delivered by helicopter? Back then, there were few cell phones so this was their main connection to friends and family back home.

Letter writing activity [15 – 30 minutes]

Talk about that when people we know are hurt, such as family members or our friends at school, we tend to do what we can to help them. That is what the Canadian Armed Forces do. They respond with acts of kindness and provide help around the world in faraway places, like they did in the Persian Gulf in the early 1990s.

We as Canadians can show honour by recognizing, celebrating and saying thank you to those Canadians who bravely risked their lives to help bring peace to a faraway place.

The Canadian Armed Forces members were excited to receive letters when they were serving in the Persian Gulf region! Why not send these real life heroes a personal message of thanks today to tell them that you remember and thank them for what they did 25 years ago?

Provide the students with writing paper (PDF), or a Postcard for peace.

Instructions

  1. Distribute writing paper or Postcards for peace to students.
  2. Encourage students to write a message of appreciation, or have them write how they will remember the sacrifices and achievements of Gulf War Veterans. For example:
    • Thank you for your help in the Persian Gulf.
    • Thank you for your sacrifices.
    • I will remember you by wearing a poppy over my heart on Remembrance Day
  3. Collect letters/postcards and bundle them together in a single package. You could provide the name and address of your school or organization and the participating students' grade level(s). Please ensure that students' personal information is not included, such as last names and home addresses.
  4. If you know a Gulf War Veteran, you may want to arrange a personal delivery. You can also mail your letters/postcards (please note that postage is at sender’s expense) to the Persian Gulf Veterans of Canada:

    Persian Gulf Veterans of Canada
    15 Roosevelt Ave.
    St. John's NL
    A1A 4C5
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