Footlocker Friday: “Getting a hold on the war years”
The National WWII Museum’s Operation Footlocker program sends artifacts from both the WWII Battle Fronts and Home Front to schools around the country. WWII personal effects bags are included among the artifacts we send. Footlocker artifacts represent lessons about World War II and the war years that give students deeper insight into the people living in the 1940’s.
Unfortunately, not everyone lived through those calamitous years. Americans who died during the war often did so far from home and loved ones. Families were notified by the government that their loved one was dead, but sometimes also received personal effects the deceased had owned at the time of their death. A special unit, Graves Registration, recorded information about the deceased, while gathering possessions and placing them in a bag.
Name, rank and serial number, were recorded on these bags – but much more. Whether they died in action or from disease was noted. The battle area and place of burial needed recording, along with the condition of the body and whether any pieces of the body were missing. These last questions bring to mind the horror of war, and the sacrifices made in World War II.
Posted by Walt Burgoyne, Education Programs Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.