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Honoring Your Veteran With a Homemade Military Shadow Box

November 17, 2022

Many families want to honor the military service and memory of a loved one who served. A professionally made shadow box can cost hundreds of dollars, but a glue gun and black picture frame can create a beautiful memento.

Follow these steps to create a military shadow box:

  1. Retrieve discharge documents (called a DD214 after 1950). The medals and awards are listed as well as units, military occupation, rank and branch of service.
    1. To request a replacement set or original medals, fill out an SF 180 form and include a copy of the DD214. The branch of service will reissue one set of medals.
      If you wish multiple sets, the medals can be purchased.
    2. Dog tags, unit patches and pins, rank and ceremonial military items are not reissued. These will need to be purchased on eBay, at thrift stores or antique stores, or at Medals of America.
  2. Once you have all the trinkets for the shadow box, you can start decorating.
    1. The American flag is always displayed highest, or at the far left position if other flags are displayed
    2. The display of medals when a service member wears them is dictated by regulation. The medals should be presented that way in a shadow box as well. The order of precedence can be found on the Official Military Ribbons.

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