Uniforms of the Past Show how we’ve Grown

Don Wolford collects and displays American military uniforms and memorabilia to show respect for the men and women who have served.

When children are part of his audience, Wolford allows them to try on pieces of military clothing. He encourages them to put on shirts and pants to realize how small soldiers were during WWII. “In the 1940s, the average male weighed 145 pounds,” he says. “Fewer than 10 percent of the WWII soldiers wore bigger than a 38 shirt size and men are several inches taller now.”

Wolford and several others formed a group called the Parade of the American Soldier. Wolford has uniforms he lends people to wear for parades, but has difficulty finding men small enough to wear the uniforms.

“Middle-schoolers are about the right size,” he says.

Wolford estimates he has pieces for 200 uniforms but fewer helmets and boots. He has uniforms from every American military conflict starting with WWI.

From the News Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana.