Thursday, March 08, 2007

So They Don't Get Abandoned Again

I ordered a Memorial Bracelet because the site offered me a chance to get a name I
wanted. I have never wanted a specific name before. This is the fourth bracelet
I have worn, but I was looking to replace the one I had, and not abandon
this man again.

Below is an email I sent to a friend who would understand...I sent it
the day I ordered the new bracelet, and took off the old one.

THIS IS WHAT I WROTE TO MY FRIEND.....

I thought that you might appreciate this story of what happened to me
today. I have, for the past 14 years worn a POW/MIA bracelet with the
name of LTC William L. Deane. I am not wearing it any more. It has over
time gotten pretty badly scratched up and I have at various times
polished it and buffed it to remove the nicks and such. Well, it got to
the point that even I could barely read it and I know what it says. So I
went on line to see if I could get another bracelet with the same man's
name. I then planned on sending the bracelet to the wall, or having
someone who was going there, take it.

I found a not for profit site that engraves these types of bracelets
and gives part of the purchase price to several non-profit organizations
that support the families and victims of terror, POWs, Disabled Vets
etc....it's hard to get a bracelet with a specific name. So I went to
the site and tried to look up the name of the vet on my bracelet. He was
not listed. After some moments of frustration and checking the name and
such, I looked under a tab for KIA. There was his name. His status has
been changed from POW to KIA...and he had come home! I sat here at my
desk, in my classroom and wept.

His remains, along with those of four people killed with him, were
returned in 1996 and he was identified in 1999. I clicked on the dates
and found a story and report on the circumstances of his disappearance
and why they thought that he was a prisoner for so long. (He may have
been so for a while.) None the less, He had been returned and
identified, and his wife, Ingrid Deane, had gone with him to Arlington
where he, together with the other four, was buried with full military
honors.

This was the third bracelet that I had worn. The first, William D. Ward
came home in the early 70's and was also buried by his family, the
second came home alive, and returned to his family. This one was the
third. That's why I am not wearing the bracelet anymore. I am sending it
to the Pentagon, where they have an office that deals with the returning
of these bracelets to the families. I am sending this on to his wife. If
they can't find her then it will go to the wall.

So, now I have ordered another bracelet. SSG John T. Gallagher from
Hamden, CT lost in Laos on Jan 05, 1968. He is unaccounted for. I may be
wearing this one for a long time. You see, when you put on the bracelet
you are suppose to take a vow to wear it till he or she comes home. They
don't need to be abandoned again! I have been pretty lucky with the men
on my bracelets. I can only hope that, like the other three, he too
comes home.

Best Wishes,

Mack
USA 1970-1976

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