Dog Tag Memories

Dog tags.  For years they were always with me.  Day and night, dangling over my heart.  I don’t know what became of them once I took off my uniform for the last time.  I kept them for a while but they were lost somewhere, some time ago, in a move from here to there.  

Mine were from the Vietnam era, the 1960s and 70s.  We didn’t have the fancy silencers on ours that they have today, those little coverings around the edges that keep them quiet.  Ours did tend to clink together, easily giving away your position if you were trying to be stealthy.

They always give you two of them, you know.  One stays with your body and the other goes back for the identification record.

I’m mentioning all of this because in the United States, we are going to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.  I know many other countries have a similar day when they pause to reflect upon the sacrifices that brave men and women have made to keep others free.

Let us remember not only those who gave their lives, but those who lost their lives in other ways when they came back so damaged that they are now homeless and unable to adjust to civilian life.

The wounds of war run deep and can be so very hard to close.

How many of you have suffered the loss of a family member or close friend?  How many of you have memorabilia, like dog tags, or a flag, or medals?  Do you have a story to tell?

With deep love and respect,


15 Replies to “Dog Tag Memories”

  1. I still have my dog tags. I served in the U.S Army for four years from November 1977 to November 1981.
    Mine also clinked together. I had no idea in the age of DNA that dog tags have rubber covers.
    I’m glad that you spoke about the thousands of homeless Veterans. It’s a shame that this country does little to help those who served. Suffering from various types of disabilities in terms of not only housing assistance but support services.
    New York city has a large homeless population and many times I wonder how many of these unfortunate people are Veterans.
    Yes there are many ways life can be lost.
    Thanks for this timely blog post.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Such a wonderful response. Thank you so much for that.
      I wish I still had mine. Even more, I wish I still had my WAC ring. I am still proud of serving in the Women’s Army Corps before it became part of the regular Army.
      Thank you for your service.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I served from ’80 – ’86, during the final years of the Cold War. My platoon in BT at Ft. Dix was the first platoon of women to go through BT in a battalion alongside of men. It was an experiment by the military at the time – men and women in BT together – which I am told didn’t last long as they determined it affected the “moral” of the male platoons. Ha! We were often filmed and well documented being one of the firsts for the US Army. I was taught – by a Vietnam Vet – to tape my dog tags together with masking tape (removes easier) to keep them quiet. I wore those for the 6 yrs then retired them to a jewelry box on my dresser where they continue to exist today. Watching what is happening in our world today I now fear we are about to enter Cold War II very soon. I served inside of nuclear missile units and with many who served in Vietnam; I saw the damage done to men and women, the sadness and pain they endured. They shared their coping skills with me – drinking, drugging and pretending it didn’t matter anymore. Thankfully I recovered somewhat from that, but the memories stay with me like nightmares sometimes.

          Thanks for your service! Peace. ~MB

          Liked by 1 person

          1. And thank you for your service. Back in my day we didn’t have an option of being with a combat qualified unit, so never thought of taping the things together. Just got used to them. I do wish I still had mine. That and the good conduct medal that was signed by Richard Nixon. so much irony there. Ah, those were the days!

            Yes, I know all about the drinking and the drugging. Been there, did that. Don’t do it any more.

            There were good things about those days, too. The friends I made. The lessons in fortitude and discipline. Leadership skills. Watching out for others. Camaraderie.

            Peace to you as well.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this, and for your service! I lost a lifelong friend just over a year ago. He’d been home for a few years. Changed, completely different than before. He Overdosed, and will forever be missed. This post is such an outstanding reflection. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My father-in-law still has his dad’s US Army WWI dog tags from when he was conscripted in 1918 – they are circular, but still there are two side by side 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 24 years, 3 wars, lost some friends, more once we got home.
    Still, I just finished helping erect my veterans organization Memorial Mile display- of all the gravemarkers for those killed in Iraq and Aghjanist- along a busy section of street in my small city. We leave it up for a week and have a little tent up so that people can come up and sit and talk to it about it.
    I always try to make this weekend a happy one in honor of those I lost, because if they were here they would want to be having a good time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sure I still have mine somewhere too. I served 4 1/2 years from 79-84 in the Army as a lab tech and medic. I remember feeling weird when I got out and no longer had them around my neck, or had to wear a “cover” on my head. Thanks to all those who served and/or made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Great post!


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