Ethical Collecting? What do you think?

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Ethical Collecting? What do you think?

David R. Clark
David R. Clark

December 30th, 2010, 9:56 pm #1

Unfortunately, item is not directly "Canadian", however, ethical collecting spans across the board (this is just a really good example).
This bothers me. Curious to know what other Forum members think?

Please see ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie ... 0609897832>

ITEM is "[U.S.] Burial Box COMPLETE with Flag and medals and 3 shells"

1. Who would keep one of these in their home unless directly related?
2. Is it really ethical to collect something like this?
3. Should this not be returned to the U.S. - the Americans are very patriotic and the flag is really a piece of U.S. property (I'm sure you understand where I'm trying to get at).

Or am I just a confused collector? Going overboard?
Or are my feelings really well justified?

Regards to all & wishes of a safe 2011,

David R. Clark

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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

December 30th, 2010, 10:10 pm #2

I see nothing wrong with this item as a collectable as it does not contain any human remains. It is not necessarily to my taste, but people do regularily collect medals and other death memorabilia to fallen personnel, so why not this?

Obviously the family had no iterest in this item, so I would rather see a collector get it, someone who actually cares, rather than some government institution who will just shelve it somewhere.
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Joined: January 9th, 2007, 1:32 am

December 30th, 2010, 10:17 pm #3

Unfortunately, item is not directly "Canadian", however, ethical collecting spans across the board (this is just a really good example).
This bothers me. Curious to know what other Forum members think?

Please see ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie ... 0609897832>

ITEM is "[U.S.] Burial Box COMPLETE with Flag and medals and 3 shells"

1. Who would keep one of these in their home unless directly related?
2. Is it really ethical to collect something like this?
3. Should this not be returned to the U.S. - the Americans are very patriotic and the flag is really a piece of U.S. property (I'm sure you understand where I'm trying to get at).

Or am I just a confused collector? Going overboard?
Or are my feelings really well justified?

Regards to all & wishes of a safe 2011,

David R. Clark
David,

It doesn't bother me that this is being sold and / or purchased. While it's nothing that would interest me I personally don't see an issue with it being handled the way it is. As has been said here before, better it be cherished by a collector than rotting in an attic.

As well, this item is not necessarily a 'burial box.' Commemorative flags are flown all the time in the US, over state capitals, federal buildings, military posts etc and it is not uncommon for a such a flag to be awarded, in a box, to a citizen. Congressmen and Senators will routinely provide flags that have flown over the US capital to their constituents. All of which are folded into the exact same style of box as the one for sale here. This particular box, even though it has some ribbons (not medals) and a set of rank stripes, does not necessarily mean it was awarded to someone's next of kin.

To me, this no worse or better than dealing in personally awarded medals etc. Whatever floats your boat.

Cheers,
Dan.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 30th, 2010, 11:10 pm #4

Unfortunately, item is not directly "Canadian", however, ethical collecting spans across the board (this is just a really good example).
This bothers me. Curious to know what other Forum members think?

Please see ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie ... 0609897832>

ITEM is "[U.S.] Burial Box COMPLETE with Flag and medals and 3 shells"

1. Who would keep one of these in their home unless directly related?
2. Is it really ethical to collect something like this?
3. Should this not be returned to the U.S. - the Americans are very patriotic and the flag is really a piece of U.S. property (I'm sure you understand where I'm trying to get at).

Or am I just a confused collector? Going overboard?
Or are my feelings really well justified?

Regards to all & wishes of a safe 2011,

David R. Clark
I suppose as a best case, if you had a loved one who had served, you could make use of this handsome display case to display his actual service medals, flag, etc. if he was denied a government burial, or had chosen not to have one. A lot of war veterans come home very conflicted about their service, while family members feel pride in them. I think that was represented well in the film Flags of our Fathers, based on a true story. The young Navy corpsman who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima had earned a Navy Cross for bravery under fire saving wounded Marines; he put it in a chest in his attic and no one in his family ever knew about it until after he passed on. One presumes he felt a number of things - survivor's guilt certainly; and other emotions about the fame and attention he received for the simple act of following orders and raising a flag when thousands of other marines and navy personnel were killed doing their duty there.

I could see many "legitimate" uses for a display case such as this, in other words.

Even if left original to the soldier for whom it was created, as nothing more than a collector's item. It's ghoulish, but people collect Silver Crosses and CEF death medallions and German death notices ("death cards") also. If treated with the appropriate respect, they can be powerful reminders that wars are fought by real people, with devastating consequences for the families of those involved.
Michael Dorosh
Webmaster
canadiansoldiers.com
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Michael Reintjes
Michael Reintjes

December 31st, 2010, 2:40 pm #5

I suppose it is quite possible that the soldier in Question may actually have been a Canadian from Ontario. Adds another dynamic to the question of ethics if he was.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

January 20th, 2011, 12:10 pm #6

Unfortunately, item is not directly "Canadian", however, ethical collecting spans across the board (this is just a really good example).
This bothers me. Curious to know what other Forum members think?

Please see ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie ... 0609897832>

ITEM is "[U.S.] Burial Box COMPLETE with Flag and medals and 3 shells"

1. Who would keep one of these in their home unless directly related?
2. Is it really ethical to collect something like this?
3. Should this not be returned to the U.S. - the Americans are very patriotic and the flag is really a piece of U.S. property (I'm sure you understand where I'm trying to get at).

Or am I just a confused collector? Going overboard?
Or are my feelings really well justified?

Regards to all & wishes of a safe 2011,

David R. Clark
I thought I might add a few details to what has been said already.

My father, a WWII US Army veteran who was a prisoner of war for a year in Germany, passed away nearly 15 years ago. He was 28 when he was drafted. He had a military funeral, by which I mean the coffin was draped with a US flag and there was a salute fired by some old soldiers. The empty shells in the box come from the salute. The flag was provided, I assume, by the federal government but the funeral home made all those arrangements. The box, on the other hand, is strictly commercial, but is probably common, though I don't have one.

While most ex-servicemen are proud to have serviced as both my father and I did, as well as my son and even my father-in-law, all those ribbons, badges and medals, if any, are generally just momentos, and mean little more than old photographs. Trinkets, really. On the other hand, some other items seem to have more meaning in that you can wear them or display them without seeming too fake or show-off, something like a club badge but more cryptic. I rather enjoy still having my "distictive unit insignia" (usually called a unit crest). In my father-in-law's case, we discovered after his death year before last, a small box containing all of his badges, even including his university cadet badges from before the war. There was even an officer's service dress jacket, hopelessly moth-eaten, in the back of the closet. Anyhow, I think the badges and ribbons mean more to other people than to the people that earned them. Don't get me wrong, however. It is rather like a college degree. The one I earned is very important to me but I don't know where the piece of paper is.

As far as the collecting of such stuff goes, I don't think it is any different from any other militaria. Curious that the family doesn't want it, however. Maybe the relative that owns it isn't that closely related. But I live in Virginia, where ancestor worship is an old tradition.

By the way, my first post here. Interest forum. I think I found it by doing some inquiry on windproof smocks.
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