They have no monetary value and little military cachet. Maybe that's why many veterans never bother to collect the service awards they've earned.
But those ribbons and badges and medals — consigned to dustbins for decades by cloudy memories — can be important in ways beyond mere utility. They connect elderly veterans to their history and shore up fading legacies.
At least that's what World War II veteran Art Peterson thinks. "Even if it's nothing more than a Good Conduct Medal, that's like for coming to work every day, it's something you should have," he said. "Not something that should be left undone."
So Peterson, who served in the...