A lot of times, the families of fallen soldiers have a small stack of items belonging to the deceased. They usually do not know what to do with these military service remnants, so they toss them in an old footlocker and leave them there. If you would like to honor fallen soldiers and also start a creative hobby, shadow boxes might be just the thing for you. Here is how you can do just that.
Approach Families of the Deceased and Tell Them What You Want to Do for Them
This part may be initially awkward, but over time it will become easier. You have to have a business card, even though you will not charge for your services. Hand the spouses or adult children your card and let them know that you are offering an absolutely free service to the families of these soldiers as your way of thanking them for their service and sacrifice. Let them know that whatever they would like to put into a shadow box display you are willing to turn into a lovely memorial for them to keep free of charge.
Spend Time Practicing How to Set up Shadow Boxes and Display Items Respectfully
Until your first families call you to request their shadow box memorials, practice setting up shadow boxes and creating displays that will be thematically congruent, aesthetically pleasing, and very respectful of the subject matter. You can practice using old, unclaimed war photos, pictures of military personnel from military magazines, and military surplus items, like sergeant stripes or small medals. It is also a good idea to learn how to shadow-box the folded American flags given to spouses and immediate families of fallen soldiers after the flags have been removed from the caskets of these soldiers.
When Families Want a Memorial Shadow Box, Dig Deep
When families want a memorial shadow box from you, sit down with them and ask a lot of questions. It helps to know more about the soldier and family member they lost. It will give you some personal information you can use to make each box and each arrangement of items more unique to the fallen soldier and honor his/her memory better. Also, be sure to be very careful with how you mount the items in the shadow box, as these items are very precious to these families. (This is why initial practice is a good thing.)