The American WWII Orphans Network is proud to present some memorabilia
of the war, touched by or touching the lives and often the deaths of the
fallen. For memorabilia remembered by all, scroll down. For service-specific
memorabilia, click one of the service insignia below.
December 7, 1941 . . . Pearl Harbor
The USS Shaw explodes, sending flames and metal into the air.
The USS Arizona burns out of control.
The two photos above are courtesy of The National archives and records Administration.
More than a million of our fathers served in World War II. Leaving their wives and children,
they traveled overseas, where many paid the highest price in service to their country.
Families of the latter got "The Telegram," the Purple Heart, and a Gold Star Pin.
.TA07 1945 MAY 4 AM 2 16
Click the graphic to see a larger image of The Telegram.
The exact exact text from The Telegram appears below, and is representative
of most of the World War II notifications from the Secretary of War.
T.WA12 30 GOVT=WASHINGTON DC 4 231A
J A ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL.
MRS ELOISE A BENNETT:
715 MONTEREY ST BAKERSFIELD CALIF;
=THE SECRETARY OF WAR DESIRES ME TO EXPRESS HIS DEEP REGRET THAT YOUR HUSBAND
PVT BENNETT SYDNEY W WAS KILLED IN ACTION IN ITALY 19 APR 45 CONFIRMING LETTER
Stars and Stripes National Tribune, 22-28 November 1993.
The Purple Heart began with George Washington, on August 7, 1782, when he designed the Badge
of Military Merit for his men. "It was a figure of a heart in purple cloth edged with narrow
lace or binding and was worn over the left breast. Only three were presented, each for gallantry
and extraordinary fidelity."
"In February of 1932, the U.S.. War Department revived the decoration in metal form. It is in
the shape of a rich purple heart bordered with gold and has a bust of George Washington at the
center. The revived decoration was made retroactive to WWI. It is awarded to members of the armed
forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of an enemy and
posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds
received in action. It is the nation's oldest military decoration and combat award."
A Short History of the Purple Heart by Richard H. Esan, Jr.
The Gold Star lapel button, approximately 16mm in diameter, consists of a gold star on a
purple circular background, bordered in gold and surrounded by gold laurel leaves. On the
reverse is the inscription, "United States of America, Act of Congress, August 1947," with
space for engraving the initials of the recipient.
The Gold Star lapel button is furnished by the US Government, without cost, to the widow or
widower, to each of the parents, to each child, and to the brothers, and sisters and of a member
of the Armed Forces who lost his or her life while in active military service.
Click here for a story by Ernie Pyle.
Click here for a connection to the French Resistance Museum
For a look at the Lighter Side of World War II, click below: