Youth Remember the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice
Land of the Morning Calm – A Fragile Peace

Aim

To provide a general understanding of the Korean War and the sacrifices and achievements made by Canadians in the conflict in the pursuit of peace.

Objectives

Youth will be expected to:

  • develop an understanding of the involvement and experiences of Canadians and Koreans on the front lines during the Korean War as well as Canadians on the home front;
  • develop an understanding of the history of the Korean War; and
  • develop an understanding of human rights and freedoms.  

Target audience

This activity is suitable for ages 8 to 11.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [90 minutes]

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

  • Introductory discussion [10 minutes]
  • Read aloud – Land of the Morning Calm [15 minutes]
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child [15 minutes]
  • The Eloquent Young Elephant [20 minutes]
  • Folding Origami Peace Cranes [20 minutes]
  • Conclusion [10 minutes]

Recommended materials

Introductory discussion [10 min]

Before introducing the Korean War to your students, you may wish to read the fact sheet Canada Remembers the Korean War to familiarize yourself with Canada’s efforts there.

Brainstorm with youth on what they know about wars. Do they know of any times when our country has had to fight in a conflict? Have they heard of the Korean War? You may wish to record their responses.

Show where Korea is on a map and how far away it is from your home province or territory. Explain how wars are hard and very dangerous for those who serve in them. You could discuss things like the terrain or share other basic information about the battle and the bravery of those who fought.

Share that 2018 marks the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice and it is an important milestone. Even 65 years later, Canada still remembers those who served and sacrificed in this important battle.

Read aloud [10 min]

Read aloud or hand out Land of the Morning Calm and discuss as a group. How do they feel about what Canadians did to help out in the Korean War? How does it make them feel about North Korea invading South Korea?

 Talk about concepts of peace such as:

  • Our individual actions do not only affect ourselves, or those in our family but they affect other people in other places;
  • The importance of being tolerant of those who are different from us;
  • We need to fear less about people and cultures that are different; and
  • We need to respect one another and our world.

Discuss the section about peace and freedom, and human rights.

Convention on the Rights of the Child [10 minutes]

Share with your students The Convention on the Rights of the Child in child friendly language (Unicef Canada) and discuss! Article 12 is you have the right to your own opinion. Article 16 is you have the right to privacy. Article 28 is that you have the right to a good quality education. Article 31 is you have the right to play and rest! How would it feel to not have certain rights?

Look at Article 38 together. It states that children have the right to protection and freedom from war. As a class, read aloud The Eloquent Young Elephant poem by Sheree Fitch. How did the elephants feel after the young elephant spoke up about how they felt about war? What happened to the older elephants? How did they react? Explain that young people are small, but they can have a say and promote the message of peace at school, at home and in their community!

Folding Origami Peace Cranes [30 minutes]

Let your students know that Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. The word for Origami means “ori” (folding) and “gami” (paper). Every year thousands of people around the world fold paper cranes as an expression of hope for a world at peace. They promote a world where people can live without fear. This tradition began with a little girl named Sadako.

Sadako Sasaki was a little Japanese girl living in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan on August 6, 1945. Years later at age 11, she was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of cancer caused by the atomic bomb.  While in the hospital, Sadako started to fold paper cranes. In Japan, there was a belief that if you folded 1,000 paper cranes, then your wish would come true. Sadako spent 14 months in the hospital, folding paper cranes. Her wish was that she would get well again, and there would be peace in the world.

Sadly, Sadako died when she was 12 years old and had folded over 1,300 paper cranes. Sadako’s friends and classmates raised money to build a memorial in honour of Sadako. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial was completed in 1958 and has a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane. At the base is a plaque that says:

This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

Although Sadako died at a very young age, her legacy continues. The paper crane is folded around the world as a wish for peace. There is a book about her as well that you may wish to read with your class called Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Explain to the students that they will be folding origami peace cranes to hang in your classroom to remember the 65th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. Distribute the Folding Origami Peace Cranes instruction sheet. When cranes are completed, hang them in your classroom or school!

Conclusion

Open a class discussion on what the youth have learned. Take the opportunity to discuss any personal reflections that students may have regarding the experiences of the Canadians and the Koreans during the war. Reflect on the question: “Is war ever worth it?” How would South Koreans feel about Canadians who served to help them in the war? What are ways that we can have a peaceful classroom, community and country?

 

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