Military Coin Display {Simple DIY}

{Sorry for these pictures, we have no blinds still and the glare is terrible!}

I am extremely proud of my husband for his service to our country. Like his father, and grandfathers, my husband follows a strong family tradition of service. My husband joined the military beginning at West Point for his education and then continued to serve both at Ft. Carson (ultimately in Iraq) and at The Old Guard at Arlington Cemetery/Ft. Myer, VA. After four years of college, 5 years of active duty military service, and a lifetime as an Army Brat, my husband made the extremely difficult decision to leave the military. 

A long discussion for another day, but transitioning from the military was an extremely scary {for me} period of our married life. I really thought he would make a career of the military, and was proud of him for making this decision for our family...anyway, if you know anyone in the military, you know there is a lot of stuff that goes along with it, not just gear, but other stuff. Memorabilia. Coins, pins, unit crests, colors, mugs, glasses, t-shirts, etc. This was a huge part of our life, and I kind of had the feeling that we'd lived it, I didn't need any of it in my face, reminding me of the hard times, being apart, deployment, war. But now that I've had a little space + time, I thought it might be nice to finally bring a little bit of it into our life. 

While my husband was at work last week, I decided to pull out a shadow box frame that I had purchased at TJMaxx about 4 years's moved at least 3 times now. I pulled out the coins + memorabilia that he had jammed into a catchall wooden box on his dresser...I found pictures from when he was in the military, and using my trusty glue gun, I glued everything into the shadowbox. 

My husband was extremely happy to come home to find the display. I also framed an American flag that had been his father's, and framed the flag {the flag was not a standard frame size, so I purchased a larger frame, using the backing from the frame to cut a piece of burlap to size. I ironed the burlap, and then used spray glue to attach the burlap to the white side of the decorative insert in the frame. The flag has two small safety pins attached from when my father in law carried it on his ruck sack, so I used the pins to attach the flag to the burlap.} 

If you notice in the photo below, the frame originally had two pictures, with a display in the center....

After my husband helped me put the kids to bed, he told me how happy he was that I had decided to finally frame the flag + his coins...but...."he wished I had included his 'good coins'." {womp-wah} GOOD COINS? During the move, he had taken all of his really important coins and hid them just in case. I didn't realize that...and he hadn't pulled them out yet. Oops.

That night I tried to add all of the special coins, but it ended up entirely too cluttered. {double womp-wah!}

So the next morning, I used some scrap pieces of cardboard (probably the inside of packaging from something I'd bought?) and trimmed it to fit inside the frames, times for each opening. I covered the cardboard with burlap (first ironing, then using spray glue to attach it to the cardboard.) I glued down the picture of my father in law pinning my husband's ranger tab...and then I carefully removed all of the glue from the coins and re-glued them down on the two displays. Now he has ALL of the coins and memorabilia in one place.

There are so many memories in that shadowbox. And while there were some challenging times, there are also some really great times and memories. We also have the coin that commemorates the Fallen Soldiers from his Iraq deployment...gone but never forgotten.

How do you display important memorabilia?


I received this update in an email from my mom, who has minimal internet saavy... a nice note worth sharing: 

"I display my memories in different ways. First and foremost, I make an indelible memory in my heart.

 I recall very clearly, the day Jim pinned the ranger tab on Chris. It was a poignant, proud moment. I cried. (Crying really makes it indelible!) Jim was so proud of Chris. Chris was so touched and proud to have earned his Dad's tab. It was a great moment, and I'm glad you put that picture in your display. 

I'm so proud that you are able to embrace the military part of your lives. It helped ( for better or worse) to define you, just as all the other experiences you have. You made a good display!

Love, mom"

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