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Re: Ethical Collecting? What do you think?

January 20 2011 at 5:10 AM

Response to Ethical Collecting? What do you think?

I thought I might add a few details to what has been said already.

My father, a WWII US Army veteran who was a prisoner of war for a year in Germany, passed away nearly 15 years ago. He was 28 when he was drafted. He had a military funeral, by which I mean the coffin was draped with a US flag and there was a salute fired by some old soldiers. The empty shells in the box come from the salute. The flag was provided, I assume, by the federal government but the funeral home made all those arrangements. The box, on the other hand, is strictly commercial, but is probably common, though I don't have one.

While most ex-servicemen are proud to have serviced as both my father and I did, as well as my son and even my father-in-law, all those ribbons, badges and medals, if any, are generally just momentos, and mean little more than old photographs. Trinkets, really. On the other hand, some other items seem to have more meaning in that you can wear them or display them without seeming too fake or show-off, something like a club badge but more cryptic. I rather enjoy still having my "distictive unit insignia" (usually called a unit crest). In my father-in-law's case, we discovered after his death year before last, a small box containing all of his badges, even including his university cadet badges from before the war. There was even an officer's service dress jacket, hopelessly moth-eaten, in the back of the closet. Anyhow, I think the badges and ribbons mean more to other people than to the people that earned them. Don't get me wrong, however. It is rather like a college degree. The one I earned is very important to me but I don't know where the piece of paper is.

As far as the collecting of such stuff goes, I don't think it is any different from any other militaria. Curious that the family doesn't want it, however. Maybe the relative that owns it isn't that closely related. But I live in Virginia, where ancestor worship is an old tradition.

By the way, my first post here. Interest forum. I think I found it by doing some inquiry on windproof smocks.

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