How to Place Military Medals in a Retirement Shadow Box

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When placing military medals and other memorabilia in a shadow box, follow a military structure similar to the way they are worn on the uniform. Based on military tradition, the ribbons, insignia and medals in a shadow box should follow the same rules, although there is no formal regulation regarding placement in a shadow box.

Place military insignia, including rank devices, at the top of the shadow box. Place either the highest rank achieved or a range of ranks in the top center of the box.

Place medals below the insignias. Arrange medals from highest to lowest honor. Pin medals to the box backboard individually or mount them on a bar designed for full-size medals.

Place ribbons below the medals. Mount ribbons on a ribbon mount. Arrange ribbons from highest to lowest honor. The highest will rest on the top left row when looking down on the mount.

Place military badges below the ribbons in the shadow box. Badges include parachute, medical field, rifle, infantry, aviators, submarine dolphins and special warfare badges.

Place military patches under the badges. Patches include division, squadron, ship and campaign patches.

Place photos below the badges, including those of the individual, their platoon, their ship or the base where they were stationed.

Arrange like items together in a collection, if arranging a two-column display case. In such cases, place medals and ribbons together on the left side of the box and badges and patches on the other side.

Kimberley Riccio has been writing professionally since 1978. She writes travel articles for various e-magazines and other online publications. Riccio holds a Bachelor of Science in business management from Wilmington University, culinary certification from Le Cordon Blu and a Master of Science in cultural sociology from the Defense Graduate Institute.