Last week, I had the chance to visit one of my uncles, George Mukai (92), who is a veteran of the Korean War. He recently moved into an assisted-living facility and had very few items delivered from his home to his new residence. One thing that he did have delivered was a curio cabinet that contains Korean War-related items including medals, a cap, a United Nations Command certificate, and a piece of wire from the DMZ. As he has in the past, he shared recollections of his experiences during the Korean War, but unlike when he was young, his recollections felt more poignant. He is a very proud veteran. Another one of my uncles, Roy Mukai (deceased), was also a Korean War veteran, and a third, Toichi Mukai, was stationed in Korea after the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953.
This month marks the 71st anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War on June 25, 1950. After my visit with George, I started to reflect on the work that my colleagues (past and present) at SPICE have done to promote the study of Korea in U.S. schools and directly to students in the United States. They are:
They have developed extensive curriculum on Korea. The offerings can be found on this webpage and includes offerings such as the following:
In addition, the Sejong Korea Scholars Program, an online course for high school students in the United States, has been offered by SPICE since 2013. The SKSP annually selects 20–25 exceptional high school students from throughout the United States and engages them in an intensive study of Korea and U.S.–Korea relations. Selected students participate in the online course on Korea from February to June of each year. The current instructor is Jang.
Lastly, SPICE offers annual summer institutes to middle school and high school teachers in partnership with the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia, and also the East Asia Seminars for Teachers in Hawaii. These are facilitated respectively by Edman, Naomi Funahashi, and Sekiguchi. These programs focus in part on Korea and are funded by the Freeman Foundation.
I wish that I could inform veterans of the Korean War about programs such as these that help to promote a greater understanding of Korea and U.S.–Korea relations among students in the United States, and also to encourage students to reflect upon the sacrifices that were made by the veterans.