By SUSAN SCHELL
The display windows at Har-Brook Jewelers look more like mini-museums than jewelry display windows.
Each window in the Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center store has been adorned with war memorabilia donated by local veterans for Independence Day.
"We wanted to show our appreciation for the things these members of the armed services have done," said Har-Brook's owner Ron Holliday.
Each window is dedicated to a specific branch of the military and displays items from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.
Holliday said the war treasures are on loan from the store's patrons.
"We get to know our customers and find out a little about them," he said.
Store employees began collecting items for the windows about two months ago.
The store usually decorates one window with war memorabilia every year around the Fourth of July, but this year decided to fill each window of the corner store.
Dan Thompson loaned items for the Coast Guard window display, Monte Gennai and his son, Garrett, share a window for the Marine Corps, Richard Van Nest has the Air Force display and Dale St. Marie filled up the Army window. At press time, the Navy display was not yet completed.
"It was very generous of them to bring this memorabilia," Holliday said. "This is kind of a hot point of appreciation. These guys are very proud of what they do and are anxious to get to know other people in the service."
There is an amazing array of items in the windows: medals, hats, photographs, survival gear, navigational equipment, hand grenades, a model airplane and even a bag of sand from Iwo Jima.
Each momento is carefully arranged on an American flag in each window.
Dan Thompson's window features a photo of the doomed crew of the space shuttle Challenger, which exploded in mid-air seconds after its launch in 1986. Thompson was a member of the recovery crew that collected pieces of the shuttle after its demise.
Every night, the displays are disassembled by the staff and put back together the next morning. "If you want to view the displays, you'll have to stop by during business hours," Holliday explained.
Shopping center patrons and store employees have enjoyed the little taste of history since Thursday.
"I think it's great. It's so patriotic and I love that," said Sandy Wallace, a hairdresser who works next door at Ultimate Touch Hair Designs. "I have three sons in the military. You guys really did a great job."
The war memorabilia will be on display through July 15. HarBrook Jewelers is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.