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abstract by Gerrit Van Dorland

Abstract – Remembering the Korean War

The Second World War had only just ended, when conflict arose on the Korean peninsula. The Korean War beckoned over 30, 000 Canadians to come overseas and join the United Nations Command to protect South Korea from the attacks of North Korea and the Chinese. While all our men suffered the torments of warfare, five hundred and sixteen of them paid the ultimate sacrifice.

We, as a nation, owe our gratitude to the many young men and women, who were willing to sacrifice, and serve for our country in order to promote international freedom and preserve global peace.

With a few graphite pencils, my goal was to bring to paper the reality of the conflict and pain these men had to endure, and portray their never-ending faithfulness and commitment to our nation, Canada.

As the central focus of the drawing, I chose the picture of a young Canadian soldier who clearly illustrates the bravery our men. His face is smudged in dirt, his hair is messy, his eyes show worry and exhaustion – in him one can see homesickness, fear, and yet an unending devotion. The photo brings the viewer further than just the outward appearance of our men, and really does speak more than a thousand words.

To the left is a collection of snapshots of Canadians in the war effort, and I placed them over a map of Korea, with some maple leaves resting on top. With the map I wish to depict the Korean struggle, and with the maple leaves make the viewer aware that Canada’s contribution is the main theme of the artwork.

On the top left, a snapshot of two men in the Canadian battalion is thematic of comradeship. One of the men is wounded, and the other is giving him moral support, and bringing him to a safe place for recovery.

Directly underneath is a picture of one of our men showing a token of kindness to a young Korean girl. The girl and the mountain are particularly characteristic of the Korean setting.

To the right is a scene of warfare, creating a feeling distress, but more significantly strength and power.

And finally, to the right again, two Canadians are ready for action at their post, ever faithful to their mission and to their nation.

The historic and heroic collage is arranged with the predominating title at the centre:

Remembering the Korean War – 1950 - 1953. Truly, I hope that Canada will make an effort to remember this ‘Forgotten War,’ for the three year conflict was no small thing, as many veterans today could relate to us.

The heroes of the Korean War will leave our nation with an unending legacy, and I hope that this artwork did a small token to help in keeping the memories alive, while we travel into the future.

Gerrit Van Dorland.


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