A side project I’ve been working on intermittently over the past few years is helping my family get its history in order. So much of any family’s history is lost as mementos and heirloom materials is divvied up and typically rarely thought of. I know this has been the case in our family from time to time. What I’ve been doing is getting things together for long term storage and fireproof safekeeping.

Over the course of this project I’ve encountered so much that I had seen at one point or another but had slipped from active memory. One example of that is the World War I Victory Medal I’m sharing here:

This is something from my great grandfather Phillip A. Bruce‘s time in the Great War, and two of the surviving bars speak to some of his service—specifically in the Army at St. Mihiel from September 12-16, 1918 and at Meuse-Argonne from September 26-November 11, 1918. After the war, Phillip became a Philadelphia police officer and served for five years before being killed in the line of duty. His Victory Medal has survived nearly a century, and it’s something we want to take better care of to ensure it lasts another century.

The idea that “the past is a foreign country” becomes very real when you’re able to encounter relics from that foreign country.

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