Since he was nine years old, Dr. David McCoy has been a collector of war memorabilia. He began with items from the Civil War that he collected using a metal detector, but as the items from that period got more expensive, and the market became flooded with fakes, he eventually became fascinated with World War I.

Traveling into the basement of his home, where he keeps his collection, is like descending into a bunker. And below, his collection takes up every available space.

What makes his collection unique is that he makes a point of telling the story of individuals by purchasing everything pertaining to the war that they or their families own. Including his own grandfather’s.

McCoy’s fascination comes from seeing that World War I brought the United States to the world stage, and sent our nation up to be a superpower.

It also brought us t-shirts, wrist watches, and playing the national anthem at sporting events.

Everyone gave to the war effort in any way they could, and those who didn’t were considered slackers, anti-American. The word has since lost its potency.

“World War I,” said McCoy, “had the since of family and comradery of the Civil War, but with the modernization of warfare that was developed even further during World War II. That is what drew me to my collection.”