Military medals are something to be proud of. So is being a parent. It’s understandable that it occurs to many military and ex-military service people to pass a bit of that heritage on to their children. While toddlers and preschoolers might be a bit young to understand and appreciate the gift of your military medals, you can certainly show them to your child at that age and try to explain in words the child can understand why you got that medal. It’s also a good time to plan how you’ll give your medal to your child when it is the right time.
Why to Pass Medals Down
Earning military medals takes a good deal of work and commitment. It’s only natural that you should want to share something that means so much with the person that means so much to you — your child. Giving your military medals to your child can start a new family tradition. Who knows? The medals you give your child from your service could end up in your great-grandchild’s possession someday.
How to Give Military Medals
Although your medals are, of course, yours to give away or do with what you will, consider holding off giving them to your child until he’s a little older. A toddler or preschooler likely won’t understand the significance of the medals or the care with which they should be treated. If you really feel the need to gift them when your children are very young, consider putting them in a small display case and hanging them in your child’s room, up high where little inquisitive hands can’t reach them. You can also write your child a letter, explaining what the medals are, what it took to achieve them and why you want the child to have them. Even if your kid can’t read or understand the sentiments yet, he will have the letter for one day when he can. Another option is to print out a description from the Internet of each medal and enclose that with the both of medals, if you don’t have a gift for words yourself.
Whether you want to think about it or not, there is always a chance that you won’t be around by the time your preschooler or toddler is old enough to appreciate the gift of your military medals. Of course, you want to live forever so you never miss a bit of your child’s life. Sadly, unless science comes up with something soon, it’s a fact of life that everyone has an expiration date. Take a deep breath to come to terms with that, and then make arrangements on the off chance that you’re not present when your youngster is old enough for such a huge gift. Make a will explaining in detail exactly who you want to get each medal — for instance, if you have several medals and several children, detail in your will who gets what and possibly an explanation, if you want to give one.
Caring for Your Medals
To protect your medals until your child is old enough to get them, care for them appropriately. If necessary, clean medals by dipping in acetate and then wiping with a cotton ball. Follow this up with polishing the medals, if you think they need it. Use a silver polish for silver or silver-plated medals. For copper or brass medals, use brass polish. Simply use a cotton swab or cotton ball to gently wipe polish into the medal. Store medals in a box especially made for such a purpose, and keep them in a safe or safe deposit box to ensure the safety of the medals.