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Treasures From the War Chest

A new book spotlights history's most beautiful and unique military decorations

In Lest We Forget: Masterpieces of Patriotic Jewelry and Military Decorations, author Judith Price provides true tales behind some 150 military medals, pins and more.

See also: How much do you know about the Civil War?

The slideshow below features 10 of the book's most beautiful and interesting pieces, honoring outstanding military service around the world, from U.S. Civil War soldiers to valiant rescue animals in World War I to American civilians working toward victory on the WWII homefront. The 160-page book is set for release on Veterans Day, November 11, 2011.

“E” for Excellence Pin; “American Women’s Voluntary Services” pin

Country: United States
Years(s): 1942–1945
Materials: White metal, enamel

Two examples of "sweetheart" jewelry awarded to those one the homefront involved in wartime activities and industries.

The "E" pins. stamped with the words, “Army-Navy Production Award” on reverse, were issued on a card with the following signed message by Frank Delano Roosevelt: “An Army-Navy Production Award emblem is a symbol of service in the greatest force in the world today—a united and free army of American workers.” The “E” pin worn by Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter would have been awarded for having driven no fewer than 3,345 rivets in six hours. — Courtesy Private Collection

Photo captions adapted from Lest We Forget: Masterpieces of Patriotic Jewelry and Military Decorations, by Judith Price (Taylor Trade Publishing).

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