Sunday, May 06, 2012

For SSG James A. Champion

I was visiting DC for a week with a friend in April of 1999. We went to the Lincoln Memorial one night and visited the souvenir stands manned by Viet Nam vets on the road out front. I was drawn to the MIA bracelets and, being a 2/75 vet myself, began looking through the Army bracelets for a fellow Ranger, finally coming across James A Champion. When I got home I did some more research on SSG Champion and during a subsequent trip to DC, obtained a "rubbing" of his name from the wall. I wore my bracelet every single day for 13 years; on my wedding day, on 9/11, on the day I reenlisted after my 10 year break in service, on the day my daughter was born, during my tour of Iraq/OIF III, and on the day I brought my daughter and my two stepdaughters to The Wall to show them SSG Champion's name last April, 2011. I was still wearing my bracelet here in Afghanistan until I lost it during a combat patrol in Chaparhar last Thursday, 3 May. I cannot believe that I have lost something that has been a part of so many important events in my life and feel as though I have failed SSG Champion, leaving him on the battlefield yet again. I'm grateful that I found the website and anxiously await my replacement bracelet. I feel naked without it and, although I will miss my old one, I look forward to wearing the new bracelet during many more important events in my life.

Michael D.

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