Memorial Day Pt 1
I had posted this on a web site a few years ago. Since Memorial Day is this weekend
I wanted to "re-post" in blog land with the hope that a few other people might see it.
This is Part 1 (don't worry neither is too long) I edited a little bit on some "tense" (past/present) but the dates you see were the actual dates.
The Story of the "bracelet"
One of the longest commitments in my life had and has been to a bracelet. Yes, of all things a slab of metal strapped around my wrist. The bracelet is a POW Bracelet that I got initially because I thought it would be "cool". 12 years later I actually got to take it off, for very good reason.
POW Bracelets were worn by family and friends of War Veterans either MIA or, never had their bodies recovered. It was a testament to the spirit to get the hero's and family members home.
I put the bracelet on the evening of a friend of my family's wedding after another friend returned from Washington D.C. with a bracelet he got at the Vietnam War Memorial. The bracelet simply read:
SSGT Elbert W. Bush
USA 01-08-73 SVN
On one end it read MS and the other had the POW logo
I put it on and that was that. Over the years I got the "is that a medic alert bracelet" or is that an "id bracelet". The most interesting thing is that I had the bracelet on for years and I would go weeks with nobody asking me about it, then in the course of one week I'd have 3 people ask me. After telling them it was "something to do" most people commended me for my efforts but nothing prepared me for a day at the post office.
I was at the counter and the gentleman helping stopped, looked and asked "May I ask if that is a POW Bracelet"? I answered him yes and we began to chat. The key thing is I have no association at all with the Bush family it was a random name on a bracelet at first. The man was very happy to see someone "not forgetting". It seems he was in the Vietnam War and was very moved that I made the effort to not forget. It was a simple exchange of words but this came about 10 years into wearing it on a daily basis, only removing it for a brief moment now and again for a backside cleaning.
One day I searched the web to see if he was ever "found" or brought home. Finally he was home. Identified only by a few teeth Elbert Wayne Bush was "home".
At this time I felt it was "okay to remove the bracelet". I wasn't sure what to do next. Do I send it to the family, what do I do. Sometimes the web can provide good information and I found a site called POW Network that answered all my questions. The best option for me was to place the bracelet at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. Elbert W.Bush was removed from my wrist officially on June 25, 2002.
A lifelong friend of mine, who at the time was working for the US Army in the D.C. area was contacted and I asked him if he could place the bracelet at the wall for me. He was honored to take up the task.
The same day a new bracelet was "purchased" (i.e., donation to the veterans) and the process will start all over again. The same day (June 25, 2002) that Mr. Bush was removed
SSGT. OLEY N ADAMS
USAF 06-17-66 SVN/ON
was placed on my wrist. And so the saga will continue.
The bracelet was placed at the Wall and my friend took some pictures.
Photo One is the entrance to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.
Photo Two is Elbert W. Bush on the wall
Photo Three is the bracelet at the wall and it was placed directly behind the wreath that President Bush laid out for Veterans Day.
It now almost seems cliché when you hear "thank a veteran" but in these times I realize what it is they do for our country and I would like to say "thank you".
To get a bracelet you can go to any Army/Navy Store, the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. or on line Pow Network.org
To order your own bracelet: Pow Network.org
Mr. Bush's Biography: here
another w/a picture : here
To "adopt" a Veteran : click here
Part Two Tomorrow - A family responds.