This post continues my look at what to do with all the stuff my beloved left behind.

The hardest thing for me was getting rid of his Army stuff. Twenty-two years of service to his country made up almost half of his too short life.  Some of it was easy, like shredding all of his old paperwork and manuals. (Dear US Army, where should I send the invoice for the shredding bill?) His challenge coins and uniforms were a different story.

The challenge coins will eventually be displayed at his favorite neighborhood pub, and the duplicates were divvied up to those friends who had served in uniform. Easy enough.

But his uniforms took up three boxes in the garage. Remember how I said he kept everything? No exception here. He kept at least one pristine set of every single type of uniform he was issued in 22 years of service. That’s a LOT of freaking uniforms, boots, and paraphernalia.  Dan HATED Stolen Valor so I knew that I’d have to be thoughtful about how to dispose of them. Our local military history museum was overflowing and couldn’t take them. No one else in the family wanted them. Since grandkids aren’t in the picture, a quilt wasn’t going to work.  Plus, these uniforms were OLD and flammable, not really what you’d want around a baby. The best I could come up with was a ceremonial burning since I couldn’t bring myself to cut them up and toss them in the trash. 

My friend, and fellow W, Susanne graciously invited me to use her burn pit for this. She had done something similar so it wasn’t weird for her. On a cold almost almost spring evening, we sat outside and burned 22 years of Dan’s personal military history. Some of them did indeed melt, releasing toxic fumes into the winter air.  Some of it (brass buttons maybe?) created green flames. Cool.  We were lucky the neighbors didn’t call the fire department. Perhaps six foot flames were a bit much.  We sat out in the cold until we could see the full moon rise and the fire burn down to smoldering bits and ash. As the last of the smoke wafted into the night, the Museum of Dan was finally closed.