Missing Medals Part 2
Veteran's Day is Sunday November 11th.
Memorial Day is the day to honor members of our military who died during service.
Veteran's Day is to recognize all who have served our nation, both living and dead.
The members of the armed forces fought for our freedoms, and some of those troops or their families are missing some of their history.
If you visit collectible shops, or even check out ebay you can find medals awarded to Veterans of the United States Military.
And those medals can arrive there in a number of ways.
Medals are awarded to military members for a variety of reasons, some are given for serving the country, others represent being in different wars.
Some are given for acts of bravery or valor, and some like the Purple Heart are given to soldiers who among other reasons have been injured or killed in conflict.
"Those medals represent that they have done something that they were asked to do and they're given the medals so that they can be recognized for having done something for their country, for their community and their family," said Lloyd Woods, the Maine Department Adjudent for the American Legion.
But sometimes those medals end up in the possession of someone other than the person who earned those medals or their family and they show up in a collectible store, or an auction, a yard sale or any number of locations..
"Typcially I do not buy this type of medal over the counter, I would say it's somewhat unusual for a family that owned family medals to sell them, next of kin are not generally selling the family medals," said Paul Zebiak the owner of Maritime International in Bangor. "Perhaps a family line coming down to one person, no immediate next of kin can end up in the estate." "Other times it could be that a group of medals or a medal, ends up in a family line that never really knew the individual, have no contact, they don't know the story and they at that point they have no use for them or even know who they belong too."
And that is why Zebiak searches out medals with ties to Maine towns or Maine people, and then he starts researching to see if he can find out the story of who the medals belong to. "A lot of times decorations will have the recipients name engraved on the reverse, that makes it one step easier in unlocking the story."
But sometimes Zebiak says the puzzle is never revealed and he just ends up with the pieces and parts of a story. "At some level you consider yourself surrogate family because you're now in possession of these items that represents somebody's service in the past and their sacrifice and the more you know about that person, the closer the connection is with that person even though they may have been dead for a hundred years."