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Return With Honor

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Teacher's Guide: Suggestions for Active Learning

American POW returning homeSuggestions for Active Learning

Return With Honor offers insights into topics in American history including foreign relations in Southeast Asia, the antiwar movement, the effect of war on families, military and political questions, human rights, and the Vietnam War. You can use part or all of the film, or delve into the rich resources available on this Web site to learn more, either in a classroom or on your own.

The following activities are grouped into 4 categories: history, economics, geography, and civics. You can also read a few helpful hints for completing the activities.

History | Economics | Geography | Civics

1. View Mike McGrath's drawings of life in prison, then visit the online forum to read the questions from Web site visitors and answers from former POWs. What was the most striking or surprising thing you learned from their comments? How has the passage of time changed these veterans' attitudes toward their captors, or the war? What do you think might account for these changes?

2. Review the events in the timeline. Then choose an event on that timeline that in your opinion represents a missed opportunity for the United States -- in other words, a point at which a different U.S. action could have helped lead to what you believe would have been a better outcome for the United States and/or Vietnam. Describe this alternate U.S. action and explain why you think it should have been taken.

3. Read the description of the tap code used by POWs and copy the table showing the code for each letter. Then, working with a partner, use the code to exchange brief messages. (You and your partner need not be in separate rooms for this exercise, but should not be facing one another.) After you become more comfortable sending and receiving messages, see if you can create abbreviations to communicate more quickly. What difficulties would you encounter, if this were your only means of communicating?

History | Economics | Geography | Civics

1. Read President Johnson's "Peace Without Conquest" speech from 1965 and the 1968 speech in which he announced he would not seek re-election. Then explain the prominent role that economics played in each speech.

History | Economics | Geography | Civics

1. Using the Vietnam Online reference map of Indochina as a guide, draw a map of Indochina and label the following places:

A. North Vietnam

B. South Vietnam

C. Cambodia

D. Laos

E. China

F. Dienbienphu

G. Gulf of Tonkin

H. Hanoi

I. Saigon

History | Economics | Geography | Civics

1. Read the presidential statement and congressional resolution relating to the Tonkin Gulf Incident. (a) What phrases in the congressional resolution support President Johnson's conclusion that the resolution "covers everything"? (b) How would you summarize the resolution?

2. Read the excerpt from In Love and War and the People & Events entries on the Hanoi March and the consolidation of the POWs. (a) How did Sybil Stockdale and other wives of American POWs help change U.S. policy toward the POWs? (b) What information suggests that the North Vietnamese were sensitive to negative publicity regarding their treatment of POWs? (c) What other, unconnected event led to an improvement in the lives of the POWs?

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