Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Bracelet Worn 38 Years Ago and Again Today

When I was 15 years old, my sister was married to someone in the Air Force, and they were stationed on Lackland Base in San Antonio. During a visit there, she gave me a bracelet with the name of Robert Lilies on it, MIA. I wore it then, with a prayer for his return, and in honor of all people serving. I was so young and a product of the time not believing in the war. HOWEVER, as I said, I was young and had no real knowledge of what was going on. All I knew was that I would stand behind proudly our "boys" going thru hell, and even death, for us. I know I wore it for at least 2 or 3 years. When I finally took it off, I remember putting it with some cherished items, but somehow thru the years, it was lost.

A few weeks ago, my hubby and I were watching a PBS show re: the 1960's. With pictures of the Vietnam War on, I remembered my POW/MIA bracelet. It occurred to me that with internet, I could find his name somewhere listed as an MIA. I did find his name, but under KIA. As I read the info that was on his bracelet, it all came back to me. Additionally, I was able to read more info re: where he was from, Louisiana, and info re: his crash. I cried. Thirty eight years have passed. I am no longer a youth with all of life ahead of me, but I have enjoyed a very good life...much in part due to freedom I have known my entire life. I am blessed with 3 sons, one of which has served in The Air Guard for 10 years. A mother's heart is thankful he has not been called to go to could I not honestly be? However, he may be going in less than a year. He has been more than ready to go and do his part as his "brothers" have. If that does occur, God will get me thru it as He has been faithful to do thru the generations.

I am waiting for my new POW/MIA Bracelet from Memorial Bracelets in the mail excitedly. As 38 years ago, I will wear it in memory of Robert Lilies, a man I never met, but is so special in my heart. How I wish I could have contact with a family member! I believe he would be 70 years old today, had he lived. I will wear the bracelet in thanks to all military, who have served that I have lived free. I will wear the bracelet proudly in honor of my son, Seth Allen Mason. And lastly, I will wear it until it falls apart, as a constant reminder to pray for all of the above, and as a hope for a day of peace!


Jessie said...

I am a soldier, serving in Korea at present. I have worn an MIA bracelet for about 9 years now (since college), and my adopted MIA has been a source of inspiration and motivation for me in my career, my life, my heart. Your story was so touching, and truly makes me feel privileged to serve a nation with citizens who are introspective enough to realize the great sacrifices these men have given. Thank you for yours and your son's service. Our families truly bear the brunt of our absence, and we can't do what we do without your support. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I think your KIA soldier would be very grateful to be on your arm, and I know his family would be grateful that his sacrifice is still not forgotten.
~Jessie Freeman

Rita Hockenberry said...

Jessie, I just happened to find your note back to me. Thank you for your service, and thank you for taking the time to share this with me! Tonight, I lift up a sincre prayer for you and your family. You are not known by me, but you certainly are by God! Your words also give me encouragement to think maybe Major Liles is grateful to be "on my arm." Blessings!!!