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The Sacrifices We Make

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle/High School History, Language Arts, World History

Students will:
• Discuss examples of commitment and sacrifice in relationship to community.

Medal of Honor Focus: John Hawk, Sergeant, U.S. Army, Co. E, 359th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division

Introductory Activity:
The teacher will display John Hawk's words on the board, “The worst thing that can happen to a human
being is to kill someone.” The teacher will lead students in a discussion about the quotation and its
possible meaning.

Whole Group Activity:
Write the word "sacrifice" on the board. Have students brainstorm information or ideas about a sacrifice.
Do the same for the word "commitment." Use a graphic aid, such as a Venn diagram, to compare and
contrast the terms. Develop a definition of the terms as a group.

Small Group/Individual Activity:
Have students write about a sacrifice or a commitment that they have witnessed. The response requirement
is five to six lines in length. Students will then pair up and share their writing. Have volunteers read their
responses to the group.

Whole Group Activity:
View the vignette of John Hawk. Have students cite examples of commitment and sacrifice based on the
common definition they agreed upon earlier in the lesson. Students may work in groups.

Concluding Activity:
Discuss the examples of commitment and sacrifice viewed in the vignette. How does John Hawk’s story
demonstrate sacrifice and commitment to his unit and his country? How does his action affect the community
at home and his fellow comrades? Discuss community and how the community is affected by acts of commitment
and sacrifice. Discuss the quotation used in the beginning of the class and its meaning now that the vignette has
been viewed.

Students’ answers to vignette questions, examples of sacrifice and commitment

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. NY: Artisan, 2006.

Extended Activity:
Visit local graves of soldiers. Visit the gravesite of one Medal of Honor recipient in your area, if there is one.
Visit gravesites of local soldiers and place flowers or flags on the sites. Conduct research on the life of a local soldier.

Quote: "We are extremely lucky to live in a nation where the dreams for our lives can be fulfilled." - Melvin E. Biddle, Army-World War II

In Their Own Words

Portrait of Valor