Sunday, September 5, 2010
The POW-MIA bracelets of the Vietnam War era made an incredible impression on all those who wore them. Millions of bracelets with the name of a missing or imprisoned soldier were worn on the wrists of family, friends, supporters and critics of the war. It may have been the only item - the only common bond - that crossed the tumultuous political divide.
In 2004, a talk show host at a Chicago radio station was taking callers on this discussion subject: What do you own that you just can't ever throw away? One caller responded by saying she still had the POW-MIA bracelet she wore during the Vietnam War. That phone call prompted dozens of others to call in about their bracelets, telling their stories of wearing them and keeping them safely tucked away in jewelry boxes, night stand drawers and attic boxes.
"I just can't ever let this go," said one caller."This was MY soldier."
The emotions behind the stories of the bracelets told that day on the radio talk show were genuine and true, and they prompted me to begin the research that has led me to the rich and powerful story of U.S. Air Force Major Stanley Horne. In January of 1968 Major Horne's plane was shot down over North Vietnam. Soon afterward his name was one of the many engraved on a POW-MIA bracelet. His story, and the story of those who wore his bracelet, not only tell the narrative of the bracelets' impact, but also the story of how America struggled with the war and tried to heal from the scars it left behind.
BRACELETS OF GRACE - An audio documentary - is Major Horne's story, the bracelets' story and the story of how a soldier's family and a nation grieve and attempt to mend from tragedy.
This November 11th, Veterans Day, is the 40th anniversary of the POW-MIA bracelets of the Vietnam War. Listen for the documentary on radio stations nationwide.
On this blog, PLEASE TELL YOUR PERSONAL STORIES OF THE POW-MIA BRACELETS. Share them with all of us who remember the bracelets and still cherish having worn them.
David W. Berner