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
(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
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
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
Limited Permission to THE NEWPORT PLAIN TALK
Contact author: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org