The longing for a distant home, for relatives and friends, was and will be equally manifested in any army at any war. A thousand years ago, a Christian knight looked in the sands of Palestine at a medallion with a portrait of a beautiful lady who stayed somewhere in Rouen or Strasbourg, and today a pilot of an Apache or a Su-25 looks at a photo attached to the dashboard.
This longing is often strengthened by a lot of spare time and a craving for front-line creativity, and then the memory of a distant comfort receives quite original forms. During the Second World War, the US army's front-line fashion led to the appearance of a special Trench Art type — Sweetheart Grips.
Aviation plexiglass, used for glazing the aircraft cabins during the Second World War, was a real godsend for front-line craftsmen — it was clear as water and easy to whittle, polish, paint and glue. A Messerschmidt or a Mustang, conveniently crashed near the trench, could have provided an entire company with luxurious mouthpieces, knife handles, cigarette cases, and other little things.
Combining business with pleasure, the Americans added the cheeks of their service Colts M1911 to this list of crafts. Regular wooden linings were thrown out and replaced by those made of plexiglass. The right one was filled by a photo of a soldier's sweetheart, or, if there wasn't any, by a suitable pin-up beauty from the magazine. And the number of bullets remaining in the magazine could be seen through the left one — however, those who did not have problems with counting the bullets and girls could also place a second picture there.
The phenomenon has acquired a great breadth — even Brad Pitt in «Rage» walks around with a revolver, which clearly shows the plexiglass lining on the handle. The fashion for plexiglass handles has not gone later, in Korea and Vietnam, and even today adult men who have not played in the war enough insert anime and manga characters under the linings of their pistols. We will not judge them.