Veterans Day was founded to commemorate the end of WWI, and is a chance for all Americans to reflect on the sacrifices that of those who have served, and continue to serve in our armed forces. I have many family members and friends who who were in the military, and I want to say “thanks” to all of them for everything they’ve given. Our freedom is one of those things that it’s all too easy to take for granted…we’re born with it, and we just live with it–it’s just part of being an American. We all have busy lives, and I think it’s important to stop once in a while and think about all those that have made our freedom possible…so I’d like to ask all those that stop by my blog just to take a few minutes and reflect on the men and women who have given so much to make our way of life possible. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that summed it up pretty well–”If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading it in English, thank a soldier.” And happy birthday to the USMC–234 years today!
The young men that fought and won WWII aren’t so young any more, and they’re leaving us in greater numbers every year. So this year I decided to commemorate Veterans Day by shooting a series of images with some artifacts of that time. Take a minute and browse through them, there’s a brief historical note with each one.
Boots on the ground. 13,104,355 Americans served in WWII, 996,242 were KIA, wounded, or missing.
Decorations and Dog Tags. The ribbons are Navy decorations, and include the Navy & Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation with bronze star device, Navy Unit Commendation, and Naval Reserve Medal with hourglass device. The dog tags belonged to my father.
Souvenir Pillow Cases. Satin pillow cases were a popular souvenir that many solders sent home to loved ones. These were decorated with Army Air Corps designs, from Walla Walla Washington, and Lowrey Field in Colorado.
U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30 M1. Also known as the “Garand” after the rifle’s designer. The backbone of the U.S. Army in WWII and Korea, it gave the American soldier a distinct advantage over the bolt action rifles used by Axis and Communist forces. This example was manufactured at Springfield Armory in 1942.
Mark II “Pineapple” fragmentation grenade. Variations of this design were used from WWI through Vietnam.
British Mark VII .303 Ball Ammunition for Vickers Heavy Machine Gun. 250 round belt of ammunition for the Vickers. This machine gun was a hold over from WWI, and was outdated by the start of WWII when both the Germans and Americans had moved on to more modern air cooled weapons.
U.S. Pistol, 1911A1 .45 ACP and M3 Shoulder Holster. The big .45 caliber pistol became synonymous with the American G.I., and was used from WWII until it was replaced in 1985 by the Beretta M9. The M3 shoulder holster was popular with air crews, paratroopers, and crews of armored vehicles.