The shadow box has offered memento keepers a practical way to preserve memories connected to different themes of their lives. Typically a wooden box with a glass front for showcasing, the shadow box hangs on walls and provides viewers a glimpse of special moments. The mementos are placed inside, the front is closed, and with a single click, everything is stored like a visible time capsule.
Military and protective services families have been able to elevate the concept of the shadow box to an even more meaningful level. They make or order boxes carved in the shape of the military branch shield in which a loved one has served. They can then place medals, stripes and bars or recognition pins into the box for display. Keepsake boxes created this way have been popular conversation starters for many family gatherings. They are also a respectful reminder of military servicemen’s sacrifices for the nation.
These boxes not only come in the shape of each branch’s insignia, but they also can convey subtle details like ranking. The E-9 shadow box for the U.S. Marine Corps, for example, is carved with the replica gold bars on a Sergeant Major’s insignia. The U.S. Air Force boxes have a similar shape and design, but are colored blue, chrome-blue, black, gray, white or chrome-silver to match official Air Force colors.
A shadow box is an ideal gift for a family member or friend who is retiring from the armed forces. Transitioning from military to civilian life is not always easy. Shadow boxes enable retirees to stay connected to one of the biggest achievements of their lives.