My name is John. I am recently retired. I am an historian and anthropologist by training but fortunately Bill Gates came up with the PC so I could actually find 35 years of gainful employment in the tech security field. I maintain an intense interest in American conflicts, mostly the Revolution, Civil War, and WWII.
I am not really a collector, although I do have "a collection". As a kid in the 50's I was surrounded by men who had at least one or two souvenirs from the war. The Civil War was not quite 100 years old and most folks grandparents, at least in my Western Pennsylvania home town, had been in The Great War. Although my dad was ground crew for B-24s in East Anglia, we always had combat items from both major theaters lying around the house.
I started getting into the history of these things when our neighbor gave my dad a beautiful (after Dad cleaned it up) 1841 Harpers Ferry Mississippi rifle. We used to take it out for target practice on weekends. He set out to make a collection of American "home guns" that had been used in defense of the country. At one time he had everything from flintlocks to a semi-auto M-14. After his death Mom had me sell of most of them for her but I kept a half dozen because they were the ones Dad an I used when I was a kid.
In addition I ended up with a couple of boxes of "pointy things", like sabers and bayonets. I have some trench art, a couple helmets and Nazi items I can't sell on eBay, the foot locker of a great uncle that came back with him from France in The Great War.
In addition, since my parents owned an antique store, I have a house containing a lot of non-military stuff, like three foot tall RCA Victor Nipper, an eagle that Teddy Roosevelt supposedly shot, and, well, just a lot of valuable items with no real modern use.
So I suppose I am a de-collector. Neither my wife or daughter have much interest in most of these items after I am no longer around. I have found this site an excellent source of detail when I am trying to identify marks and history of items I own or want to sell on eBay. Additionally, while Seattle has a lot of smart folks, it is not a hotbed military history buffs. This site is a nice alternative.