I never knew that the end of a life could be the beginning of a new one. That a full 21 Gun Salute at my grandfather's funeral would be the catalyst and inspiration for preserving his legacy. And that an empty bullet casing could actually become so full of life.
My grandfather was 89 years old when he unexpectedly passed away. As a World War II veteran who understood the preciousness of life, he was one of the most charismatic, caring and charitable persons I ever knew. Luckily, it didn't take me long to discover how to safeguard his memory.
It was immediately after his funeral service that a woman approached me and asked if I was one of the grandchildren. She took my hand and in it gently placed a handful of empty brass rifle bullet shells from the Salute that she had found scattered around my grandfather's memorial. I never found out who the woman was or how she had known my grandfather. What I did find out, however, was that these bullet shells meant enough to her to pick up and return to me. And oddly enough, I found an extraordinary comfort holding them in my hand, as if the goodbyes I had just said were in fact actually hellos.
For months following his funeral, these shells served as a constant reminder that my grandfather was still with me, and with us all, as an everlasting spirit. So much so, that one day I decided to make a pendant from the casing and slid it onto an old chain, which I then duplicated for my mother, sister, grandmother and aunt. I wanted all of us to have a memento, something we could keep close to our hearts, in remembrance of a remarkable soul.
Shield & Honor was born out of remembrance of my late grandfather, but on a larger scale, out of remembrance of those legacies that touch all of our lives. Whether these necklaces are personalized or simply worn for the sake of fashion, they have become a symbol of life, of honor, and that no legacy, no matter how small, should go left untold.
A portion of the proceeds from each S&H bullet necklace will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.