Don’t Lose Those Military Memories

A last-minute peek reveals a box holding missing family treasures.

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Posted in , Jul 19, 2016

Don't lose your family's military memories.

We are fortunate to have had two family members serve in the military. My father-in-law was in World War II, and our son served two tours during the conflict in the Middle East.

While our son was serving, before he got married, I was the keeper of the military memorabilia. I had pictures, award certificates and commendations. I also kept newspaper clippings, newsletters and anything else that pertained to our son’s service. It was my goal to make certain that his sacrifice and service were well-documented for future generations.

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It was while I was acting as historian of my son’s military service that we discovered no one knew where my father-in-law’s military memorabilia had gone.

We helped him search his home several times, checked with other relatives but to no avail. We finally gave up hope of ever seeing his medals or mementos.

Then my husband brought home some boxes of papers that his dad had asked him to shred. We almost took them straight there unopened, but at the last minute my husband decided it would be a good idea to see what was inside.

Sure enough, surrounded by a mountain of papers, nestled a plain manila envelope. Inside were his father’s medals, his bars, and all the paperwork that went with them.

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It still gives me nightmares to discover how close we’d come to losing them forever.

Today’s post is a cautionary tale. The veterans who have gone before us are aging quickly. I encourage you to watch out for any of your family’s military history that may be tucked in the corner of a box or bureau and forgotten. Take a few extra minutes and make sure that cleaning and organizing doesn’t cause you to lose some precious memories.

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