Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Honoring Our Nation's Veterans

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day in the United States. Our observance of this important day comes on the heels of the death of a Maine soldier, Spc. Andrew Hutchins, who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday. The proximity of these two events makes me wonder how you all feel about war. You were probably fairly young when the United States entered Iraq. So, you have grown up with war in the background (or forefront for some of you) of your lives. Your perspective is unique, as you are the first generation since those who grew up during the Vietnam War to see and hear about war for most of your childhood.

We talked last week about pacifists and conscientious objectors. Most of you did not know of these terms, but in our short story "Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads," a man is persecuted by his community for being a conscientious objector, or a "conchie". This story by David Almond highlights the stigma that can come from deciding to not participate in war.

So, what do you believe?

Today, you're going to suss out your beliefs on war. This is a huge topic, but there are plenty of threads to choose from in your exploration of your beliefs and opinions. You're going to select two strains or topics to research in today's class and you'll write one or two blog posts about the topics you choose. (Some may be combined into one post.) Here is the list to choose from:

The organization called Veterans for Peace: Who are they? What is their mission? What are two interesting facts from their website? (Make sure to link back to their site in your post!)

An obituary for Spc. Andrew Hutchins. What was he like? Where was he from? How old was he? (Make sure to link back to this site in your post!)

The organization called Iraq Veterans Against the War. Who are they? What is their mission? What are two interesting facts from their website? (Make sure to link back to their site in your post!)

The history of Veteran's Day. How did this holiday come to be? Who created it? When?  What is the purpose of it?

React to the poster for Veteran's Day 2010. How does it make you feel? Do you recognize all of the names/ locations on the list for this poster? Also, which poster was created the year you were born? How do you feel about that poster? What are the differences between the 2010 poster and the one from your birth year?

Look up the definition of the terms "pacifist" and "conscientious objector." Do you consider yourself to be a pacifist or CO? Why or why not?

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