Veterans Day is about honoring the service of the military in our country. It’s about giving these people their due for doing their part – some voluntarily, some compensatory based on the time they’ve served – to secure the freedoms we all enjoy.
These servicemen, present and past, are to be celebrated. One way to celebrate our veterans of the past is to share their memories and military memories with others.
Some people in our readership area may have military items from their fathers, brothers, grandfathers, who served in historic wars, such as WWI, WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam. Many of our veteran ancestors left behind medals, letters, uniforms, etc. which may have historical significance.
I know many of us in the Boomer generation had fathers, uncles, and grandfathers who served in World War I or World War II. Maybe some of these military items have been passed down to us over the years, and they’ve been tucked away in an attic or storage area or put in a drawer. Heck, we might not even remember we have them.
It got me thinking last week when a photo from four years ago appeared in my Facebook feed. My husband, who is an army veteran and also a military school graduate, has always been fascinated by war history and memorabilia. When he was a student at the New Mexico Military Institute, he began building a replica of the USS Missouri. The significance of this ship is that it participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She took part in the bombardment of mainland Japan.
But, it was best known for hosting the Japanese surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945.
Unfortunately, while he was on vacation, he left the model at school and he disappeared. So, as an adult, from about 30 years old, he started building it again. It took him over 30 years to complete – we moved around a lot and the kids were young and we were busy with careers etc. When he finished it was beautiful, but way too big to be displayed in our house.
So he lent it to the military section of the Ardmore Historical Museum. They were excited and happy to have him. And, it is enjoyed by others fascinated by military history.
The Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park are collecting military memorabilia, and I’m sure they would appreciate items of military significance from local veterans. Wouldn’t it be nice to remove those medals and keepsakes from their storage and give them to a place where others can see them and learn their history?
Loaning an object to a museum means that you and your family have the possibility of recovering it one day if you wish.
I know I’m proud that my husband’s model of the USS Missouri is on display in a museum. It fits in perfectly with their WWII exhibits and provides another learning experience for museum visitors.
It’s something to think about. These memories need to be shared.
Cindy Allen is publisher and editor of Enid News & Eagle.