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Illinois officials hope to return nearly 200 forgotten war medals and other military artifacts to their rightful owners.

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford announced the project - called Operation Reunite - on Friday, Veterans Day.

Former Illinois State Rep. Ron Stephens, a Highland Republican and a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, is the project's honorary chairman.

The treasurer's office takes care of the military artifacts, storing them in a vault beneath the Capitol.

Many items ended up there because they were stored in a family safety deposit box and forgotten. Banks eventually turn over the contents of neglected safety deposit boxes to the treasurer's office.

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