Friday, October 26, 2012
(Last modified: 2012-10-27 00:00:33)
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
By Rosemary Lee Potter
When my late brother, David C. Lee, came home from basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, I was a young girl. I hardly understood the great importance of those who served our country in keeping us safe. Years later, it is now so clear the importance of the all the men and women who serve to protect us in all branches of the service, yes, as volunteers, yes, for those jobs and benefits-and also knowing it will most likely affect their whole lives-as well as that of their families.
No wonder we started honoring them with museums, statues, special celebrations, patriotic music, traditional parades, ships to visit in famed harbors, ceremonies aboard, cemetery tradition. No wonder indeed we started keeping photos, letters, documents, and relics within our families' charge-in scrapbooks, frames, bookcases. No wonder also that, through the years, some of these home items have been donated to collections in museums in many parts of the country. Visitors wander through and look at such photos and documents, some displayed in groupings of an event, a mustering formation, more than a century old.
Our warriors came home and founded organizations to keep their members in regular touch, to enjoy each other's memoirs in reunion, and to underwrite local veterans' projects and affairs, as well as meet and work with public groups about these matters.
With the millions of military folks, thus hospitals and medical facilities developed associated with both elderly and today's military members, their health and needs. All around us there are vets in our families and churches who want to share their experiences. One such older veteran in Florida regularly helps in uniform to meet and greet visitors at the Armed Forces Museum in Largo. On special days such as Veterans Day he goes there and actually shares and interprets collected photos of military action displayed in the place as well as in his own scrapbooks.
It's not difficult to locate such museums online-I found several in just a few minutes. I remember visiting air museums in California and Washington, and even seeing full-sized vintage military planes in airports as I travel. At airshows, there are always such aircraft, usually storied by vintage military veteran pilots right there on the show sites.
There is some military stuff just left behind-not forgotten so much as passed on. Such was the case of military memorabilia, two items which turned up in Knoxville in boxes of old cloth, long stored in the attic of an old house. Someone just left this memorabilia behind. It seemed right to donate the found objects to a local military museum. It seemed patriotic to find out about the items, though, first, since the owner/s were no longer present nor had left a name on them.
First, there was a beige cloth cap with places to add patches or letters, but none present. It handily folded flat, but, when opened, fit neatly forward over the head. The only label read: CAP: GARRISON.MAN'S. TYPE II, CLASS 5, KHAKI 3729POLY/CNT TWILL UNLINED (stock and Contract nos.)SIZE: 75/8 stamped O3
(with a hand stamp)--SAM BONK UNIFORM CAP CO, INC.
Online there are collectible Garrison caps. Coincidentally, while investigating this one, a vintage "The Waltons" TV show depicting the family in WWII aired in which most of the young men in the family were in the Army, wearing these caps. A WWII film also was shown with soldiers who removed helmets back at their bases and slipped on this style cap. Pretty well dates the cap it seems.
The other found military "souvenir" remains a mystery as to its actual identity, even though marked with life preserver, through it, the ship U.S.S. Massachusetts coming toward us, and the words Battleship Cove, Fall River, Mass. The stone-it feels like one to the touch and if tapped on something-is only 1.5 X 1.25 inches, gray and worn on the edges. Is it a ballast piece, a wall souvenir of some sort?
A look online for Battleship Cove in Fall River offers a huge amount of historical information about homage to the naval military world of our country. Perhaps the archivist at this veterans' shrine can identify the stone.
One thing is certain. In the United States world of collecting adventures, it is quite easy to find and celebrate with and for all those military personnel who serve us. We honor them and collect their memories of service. We are often reminded.
©2012 Rosemary Lee Potter All Rights Reserved
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