Basement Archeology: Insignia


After unpacking the frame of six pictures my grandmother had arranged, I found a little black jewellery box holding the insignia decorating my uncle’s uniform. In his picture, on the left below, you can see their outlines on each collar; the “U.S.” medallion is on the left and the crossed rifles is on the right.

Bill Hertha, Circa 1944/45
Bill Hertha, Circa 1944/45
US Army Insignia from Bill's Uniform
US Army Insignia from Bill’s Uniform
Bill's Hat
Bill’s Hat
Bill's Glasses
Bill’s Glasses
Bill's Bible
Bill’s Bible
Inscription in Bible
Inscription in Bible

Seeing these objects in a picture is one thing, but holding them in my hand triggered a much closer, and tangible connection through sharing the touch of the same object. Scrolling through the images on the right (click on the image), are his hat, and glasses that are both in the picture. I found his bible, inscribed November 10, 1943, the day he left Toronto by train to join his troup in California. He was just 20 when he left, and he was killed just 2 weeks before his 22nd birthday. The items pictured here are the personal belongings that were returned to my grandparents by the army.


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