For a lot of our readers, the Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer show season. In preparation for the various parades and veteran recognition events, historic military vehicle (HMV) enthusiasts pull out their vehicles, clean off the dust, check the coolant, oil, brakes and battery. Likewise, militaria collectors, pull out the tubs, open the closets and take stock of their war rooms to plan displays and talks. Memorial Day marks the beginning of the season, but what else is there to do?
EVERY DAY IS A PATRIOTIC HOLIDAY
I have said it many times before, “Military vehicle owners are some of the friendliest, most open and sharing collectors I have ever met.” I think, by the very nature of the hobby, an HMV person is gregarious… heck, one might even say they can even be show-offs once in a while. An HMV guy is kinda like the fellow on the Dairy Queen commercial who does everything the “DQ Way.” An HMV guy doesn’t just “go to the store to buy some milk,” he or she “drives an M151A1 with a fording kit to the store to buy some milk.” An HMV guy doesn’t just “take the kids to swimming lesson,” he takes them to swimming in a Schwimmwagen!”
That’s just the point… you don’t need a parade to show off your prized vehicle. You are an ambassador for the hobby and commemoration of our veterans whenever you take out your vehicle. When was the last time you drove your Jeep, M37 or Deuce somewhere when heads didn’t turn, thumbs-up were not hoisted or someone didn’t stop to ask you about the vehicle?
Every day that you drive your vehicle in public is a personal “Memorial Day.” Sure, a few might think you are driving a bit too slow or some might even consider whether you are sane, but the common reaction is one of recognition, support and appreciation.
On the other hand, many militaria collectors are not always so forthcoming. Many are even downright secretive about their collection, sources or leads in fear that they may miss the next treasure. But, there are those in the hobby who feel a great sense of satisfaction when they have the opportunity to show their collection to an audience.
Some make special efforts on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day or even the Fourth of July to display their collections. Some assemble museum-like displays, others use “living history” as their favorite venue, and still others will prepare and deliver interesting, engaging lectures. These individuals are true ambassadors for the hobby, helping others to understand the sacrifices of veterans by displaying and explaining the uniforms, weapons and equipment that the soldiers used.
HOW DO YOU SHARE?
Sitting around the table eating our usual donuts and coffee, a group of my editorial friends asked me, “What do military collectors do all summer?” They assume it was, “Parades or nothing.” I assured them, our readers are a very active bunch. In fact, I went so far as to boast, “To prove it, I will ask them to send me photos of what they do to share their hobby!”
Okay, maybe I went out on a limb here, so I am asking all of you to back me up on this one. Let’s show those guys and gals in “Crafts,” “Antiques” and “Old Cars” that we militaria collectors and HMV folks aren’t just a bunch of “sit in the basement” types… that we actually get out and promote our hobby and support the memory of our veterans.
“THIS IS HOW I SHARE”
I am asking you to send me a photo or two with an explanation of how you “share the spirit.” I will put together a Patriotic Page on our website that we will kick open on July 4th weekend. Send me your photos (no more than 4) and brief explanation (up to about 150 words) by Monday, June 27.
Come on, guys and gals… Let’s show those other editors that the readers of MT and MVM are one serious bunch of red-white-and-blue patriots! Out of the trenches and onward! Send me pictures of you promoting our hobby.
Editor, MT and MVM