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Building unity: Insignias, logos, and branding

Prior to being federalized in 1940, the 111th Cavalry was a unit in the New Mexico National Guard. Many Guard units consisted of cousins, close friends, and neighbors. A strong sense of camaraderie developed with Guard activities and continued after the 111th became part of the US Army. Historians have speculated that it was this sense of belonging that helped the men of the 200th and 515th survive the overwhelming challenges they faced during the siege of Bataan, the Death March, and as POWs.

Standards
Students will:

  • Explain the significance of symbols, icons, songs, and traditions that exemplify ideals and provide continuity and a sense of unity (SS Benchmark III-B).
  • Explain the concept of diversity and its significance within the political and social unity of New Mexico (SS Benchmark III-B: 7:2).
  • Identify official and unofficial public symbols of various cultures and describe how they are or are not exemplary of enduring elements of those cultures (SS Benchmark III-B Performance Standard 7:4).
  • Analyze the contribution of symbols, songs, and tradition toward promoting a sense of unity at the state and national level (SS Benchmark III-B; 9-12:3).
  • Evaluate the role of New Mexico symbols in providing continuity over time (SS Benchmark III-B; 9-12:4).

Outcomes
Students will:
  • Analyze symbols of cultural identity
  • Create an inventory of their cultural identity
  • Contemplate the value of cultural identity
  • Design a symbol of their cultural identity

Materials
Handouts

200th and 515th Insignias
Armed Forces Insignias
Logos
Prepare logo handout for projection device or print one copy per student.

Procedure

  1. Prior to the lesson, students should view the slide show The Regiment.
  2. Through class discussion, introduce the concept of identity and branding by discussing the meaning of various popular logos.
  3. Introduce the concept of cultural identity by asking students:
    • What does cultural identity mean to you?
    • Why is cultural identity important?
    • How can cultural identity serve to strengthen a group?
  4. Introduce the insignias of the 200th and 515th. In small groups, students discuss the significance of each symbol and make deductions as to why the symbol is significant to an armed forces unit. Challenge students to make deductions with questions such as:
    • What are the individual symbols in the logos?
    • What is the significance of the symbols?
    • Discuss reasons why the symbols were chosen. What might the symbols reflect about the community or group that chose them?
    • Why are symbols or mascots or logos important to groups? Do the reasons vary with the group? For example, do football teams and National Guard units want an identifying logo for the same reasons?
  5. Record responses to questions and structure a discussion about the importance of symbols to National Guard members in a time of war or imprisonment.
  6. Extend the deconstruction process with the Military Insignia handout.
  7. Explore cultural identity via a class discussion begun with: What is the cultural identity of the community, school, and class? Label three columns on the board or on chart paper:
    • What values my community offers me
    • What values I bring to my community
    • What symbols represent those values
  8. Students work in small groups to brainstorm values for each column
    • Collect and record group responses to build the cultural identity of the class.
    • Extend the idea through a discussion guided by questions such as:
      If you and your classmates were a New Mexico National Guard unit shipping off to war, how would these values be important?
      What could you do to commemorate and remember these values in a time of crisis?
  9. In small groups or individually, students create a class symbol of cultural identity.

Presentation
Students share their symbol, explaining significance.

Assessment
Assessment is based on student response to the writing prompt: What is cultural identity and how does it reflect the values of a group?

Resources
History of the NM National Guard http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/arng-nm.htm
Current insignias of the NM National Guard 111th http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/111ada-bde.htm
Current insignias of the NM National Guard 515th http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/515rti.htm