Margaret Myers Beeker always knew about the trunk in her parents’ attic. Inside were three U.S. Army uniforms and two “doughboy” helmets worn by her father Frank and uncles George and Paul, during World War I. All three brothers had deployed to France with the American Expeditionary Forces at the same time.
When the time came to clean out her parents’ house, Mrs. Beeker’s mother made her promise that the uniforms would not be auctioned. She wanted them to be appropriately honored. As Mrs. Beeker began searching for options, she learned that a national museum was being constructed for the Army, so she contacted The Army Historical Foundation to inquire if they could give the artifacts a home. She soon heard back from the Foundation’s Chief Historian about the possibility of adding them to the future Museum’s collection.
Long-time Foundation supporters may recognize the Myers Brothers’ artifacts as an early highlight of the Museum’s collection. Though no visitor has been as eager to see the uniforms on display as Mrs. Beeker, who made her first visit to the Museum this fall. “The volunteers who welcomed us were kind, friendly, and knowledgeable. As soon as we told them the artifacts we came to see, they knew right where to take us.”
Mrs. Beeker said her father’s artifacts connected her to a pivotal time in her father’s life, but one that he never talked about with her. Her father had seen combat and was attacked with mustard gas. According to her mother, it was hard for him to reflect on those experiences.
After her visit, Mrs. Beeker described the Museum as “unbelievable.” She said, “I thought it was historic, incredibly realistic, and dignified.” It was exactly the place of honor her mother had hoped for.