Salute to service: Let freedom ring

It didn’t take our editorial staff long to realize that we’d struck a nerve with our recent reports on new policies at eBay.

There are new policies proposed and activities afoot that have become a concern to dealers and collectors like you. And you let us know about it. I would estimate I fielded about 150 reader responses in the form of brief statements to long letters on this topic.

Some of you said we were right on to be concerned. Others said eBay is heading in the right direction. The opinions ran the gamut. We didn’t pick and choose what we would publish. Due to space constraints, we couldn’t print them all. But we posted (published) all of them on our Web site (www.antiquetrader.com) for other readers and all members of the collecting community to read.

(Links to the eBay paperless payment policy reader responses: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8.)

For those of you who wrote in, we thank you for exercising your right to voice your opinion. What a shame it would be if we didn’t occasionally enjoy our freedom of speech. As we approach another Veterans Day, let’s think again about those freedoms established in the Bill of Rights back in 1791 and the countless men and women in service who have defended them since. They deserve our salute.

I know from my friend and colleague John Adams-Graf, editor of our sister publication, Military Trader, that veterans are often on the minds of collectors. “The area of militaria memorabilia — weapons, uniforms, medal, helmets, etc. — is growing,” he said. (For more info, visit their Web site at www.militarytrader.com.)

Although my father did not serve in the military, I had some uncles who did, along with my brother and two nephews. I have the utmost respect for them and enjoy visiting museums, watching movies or reading books to learn more about our country’s involvement in various conflicts (including our own Civil War).

The artist sketches and photographs are spellbinding, too, and I wanted to share one with you. This incredible picture, suitably captioned “the human statue of liberty” was taken in 1918 and has been circulating around the Internet and in e-mails the last few years. It is 18,000 men preparing for war in a training camp in Iowa. 

As the Web site of the of the Iowa National Guard explains, the picture, formed by 18,000 posed soldiers, was taken in July 1918 at Camp Dodge, Iowa, as part of a planned promotional campaign to sell war bonds during World War I: It states: “On a stifling July day in 1918, 18,000 officers and soldiers posed as Lady Liberty on the parade [drill] grounds at Camp Dodge. According to a July 3, 1986, story in the Fort Dodge Messenger, many men fainted – they were dressed in woolen uniforms – as the temperature neared 105 degrees. The photo, taken from the top of a specially constructed tower by a Chicago photography studio, Mole & Thomas, was intended to help promote the sale of war bonds but was never used.”

Isn’t that amazing that the photo was never used? How unfortunate. It moves me to see all those servicemen standing at attention in the shape of what they are fighting for. Antique Trader would like to know if you collect militaria or something that is symbolic or honors someone?

Drop me a line at robyn.austin@fwmedia.com and send along a picture if you have one to share with other readers.

Don’t forget to salute our servicemen and women on Veterans Day and every day!

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This incredible picture, suitably captioned "the human statue of liberty" was taken in 1918 and has been circulating around the Internet and in e-mails the last few years.

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