Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dog Tags - Before and After

By Greg Pierce

Many people today are fascinated with dog tags but these pieces of metal used to be more of a necessity when they were first made. Back then, dog tags served to identify American soldiers every time they went to war or performed military operations.

The tags first surfaced during the Civil War when soldiers felt the need to identify themselves should they die on the battlefield. Back then, these tags were worn by the soldiers on their own volition. Paper used to be the material where they military wrote their names and which they pinned to their clothing. Then, they used wood which they attached to a string and wore around their necks. At first, these items were circular but eventually, they were replaced by the oblong-shaped aluminum discs that we know today. Although soldiers started using dog tags in 1863, it was only in 1899 when it became mandatory for them to wear such tags for the sake of sparing family members from uncertainty when identifying war casualties.

Nowadays, dog tags paint a brighter picture, although they are still used by the military for the same purpose. There are businessmen who make dog tags to serve as a tool for them to reach out to their market. These tags are given for free to customers or clients as a way of instilling a certain brand or name in the public's mind. There are also those who wear these tags as a way to promote a cause they are joining. For example, volunteers of an anti-cancer organization can make their group known by wearing these tags and inviting more people to volunteer for their projects.

Of course, some people can wear dog tags for self-expression. These are teenagers or youngsters who use the tags as fashion accessories or as a way to express themselves. There are also people who have dog tags made for their pets. These will usually bear the names of both the pet and their owners along with an address or telephone number. For pet owners, these tags provide a sense of security as they know the animals will more probably be returned to them of they got lost than if they never wore any tags for identification.

Before, dog tags looked all the same regardless of purpose, today, they can be personalized and may come in different styles. Some will have an image, text or logo embossed, some are photo-etched, others have diamonds or other precious stones engraved on the metal and yet others are created using offset or pad printing techniques. These dog tags can come as glow-in-the-dark accessories that can be worn with any casual outfit for fun loving people.

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