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Exploration of Sacrifice and Commitment

Suggested Level

Suggested Applications

Middle and High School History, Korean War

Students will:
• Reflect on different experiences that demonstrate sacrifice and commitment.
• Define and describe the words sacrifice and commitment.
• Recognize sacrifice and commitment in different communities.

Medal of Honor Focus: Reginald Myers, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines,
   1st Marine Division / Korean War

Introductory Activity:

The teacher will ask students to write five to seven lines about the following: "Think about a time
when you were faced with a dilemma and made a decision that benefited others. Write about a
sacrifice or a commitment you have had to make or witnessed."

Students will pair with a partner and then regroup to share responses.

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." Students may use a graphic aid, such as a Venn diagram, to
compare and contrast the terms.

Define both terms as a group to make consensus definitions. Discuss background information on Reginald Myers.

Use the board to project visuals (e.g. maps of Chosin and quick facts on Korean War)

Small Group/Individual Activity:
View the vignette about Reginald Myers and use note-taking strategies to monitor on-task behavior. Gather
at least five important facts.

Whole Group Activity:
Discuss the commitment and sacrifice students viewed in the vignette. Share information obtained by note taking.
Discuss the community of soldiers and how they were affected by commitment and sacrifice.

Concluding Activity:
Students will write an essay incorporating their response to the following:

Part 1
Describe what the following quotation means to Reginald Myers, then what it means to you:

“Freedom is not free, freedom is something you have to earn.” - Reginald Myers

Part 2
Evaluate how the vignette about Reginald Myers demonstrates the values of sacrifice and commitment.

Part 3
Describe what one does to earn freedom.

Informal discussion, note-taking guide, essay

Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty. NY: Artisan, 2006.
Venn Diagram (optional)


Battle of Chosin Reservoir

Background Information

Did you know?
• It was so cold that blood actually froze in the soldiers' wounds.
• The Battle of Chosin Reservoir pitted 20,000 UN forces vs. 200,000 Chinese.
• The unrelenting bitter cold made the going nearly impossible.
• The withdrawal of troops, led by the Marines, dealt the Communists heavy losses.

Chosin Troops

A column of troops and armor of the 1st Marine Division moved through Communist Chinese lines during
their successful breakout from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. The Marines were besieged when the
Chinese entered the Korean War, November 27, 1950, by sending 200,000 shock troops against Allied forces.


In Their Own Words - Reginald Myers