U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Mitchell Collyer

From the moment prospective Marines step onto the yellow footprints painted on the deck at boot camp, they’re inundated with two centuries of heroic deeds and sacrifices made on beacheads and in jungles, city streets, and deserts across the globe. The reasoning is pretty simple: Marines are their history.

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Task & Purpose photo by James Clark

At a back room in a plain building in Quantico, Virginia, in wall lockers and cardboard boxes stacked neatly on top are artifacts from past wars. On a table at the rear of the room sits a number of items and personal effects belonging to Marines who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s a bloodstained Kevlar helmet, worn by Lt. Col. Ty Edwards, who survived a headshot in Afghanistan during an ambush in 2008, as well as a woodland blouse and a pair of dog tags belonging to Medal of Honor recipient Jason Dunham. Dunham was killed in Iraq in 2004 after he leapt atop a hand grenade, giving his life to save two other Marines.

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