If you or a loved one has served our country in the armed forces, you may be considering setting up a display in your home to commemorate their service. This is a great idea! Many such displays include a professional photo of the service member, an American flag, a shadowbox for medals, and other related objects. You'll want to hang these items for best effect. But where to start?
Choosing a location
First things first, decide where you want to hang these displays. Depending on the layout of your home, you may be limited to a specific wall, or you may have a choice of many locations. Take stock of any areas in your home in which you are considering hanging these reminders of American heroism.
You can show your pride in your (or your loved one's) service by using a wall in a prominent place where guests are likely to see it immediately, such as an entryway. However, beware of narrow hallways that could allow something to be knocked off the wall by a passerby. Try to make sure there is room to step back and view the entire arrangement, as well as space nearby to take a closer look at individual items. If the service member's career is still ongoing, look for a place where you can continue to hang more items later as their prestige grows.
Don't hang anything in direct sunlight because over years the colors may fade unless you are willing to shell out some extra cash for UV-protective glass for your picture frames and display cases. This is a worthwhile investment overall but can be expensive. However, sun damage is irreversible, so be sure to keep your treasured memorabilia in an appropriate place until you can protect it.
Display case for medals
Choose a display case by evaluating the number of medals that will be placed inside. Patches, badges, and insignia also work well in display cases, and you can find shadowboxes of various depths to accommodate different-sized items. When arranging medals in the shadowbox, highest honors should be placed at the top left in order of precedence. It is also acceptable to put medals together by category, keeping similar shapes together to achieve a tidy look, as long as the proper order is followed within those categories.
Proper display of the American flag
You'll definitely want to include an American flag as part of the display: after all, it's what our armed forces fight to defend. If you plan to include a memorial flag because your display is to honor a loved one who gave their life in service to this country, we are deeply sorry for your loss. Triangular shadowboxes specifically designed to hold the folded keepsake flag can be purchased anywhere display cases are sold. It should be placed in a central location to honor their sacrifice.
If you are hanging a flag on a flagpole or wall, be sure to follow the guidelines of the Flag Code. Make sure the flag is positioned correctly and does not touch the ground or anything beneath it.
Artwork and other décor
Once you have secured a place of honor for the service member's medals and formal photo, add any other pictures you feel belong. If you have photos from their active duty (in uniform, driving military vehicles, with others, etc) they can provide a great counterpoint and help paint a fuller picture of his or her life. Further enhance the layout with artwork by Dick Kramer, the preeminent tactical artist in the USA who has been in business for 25 years. His skilled drawings capture the essence of military service with both flair and dignity.
It may take you a lot of rearranging to get the look you want, but eventually, you will settle on the best arrangement. Stand back and view with pride the inspiring tale in memorabilia of the service member you are honoring. The display you have created today will serve as a fitting tribute to the individual and inspire your family and friends for years to come.