Back in the early 70’s, the Vietnam War took it’s toll on thousands of lives. Not only were so many of our soldiers and sailors injured or killed, there were countless young men that just went missing. It was not known if they were taken prisoner or died. As that list of prisoners of war and missing in action grew so did the need to find these young men.
To draw attention to the fact of so many missing young men, bracelets were sold with the soldiers name, rank, and date of when they went missing. Many of us bought and wore those bracelets and vowed we would only take them off when “our soldier” came home. My husband and I wore our bracelets with the name of S/Sgt William Brown, who went missing on 11/3/69, for many years. We wore them for quite a while after the war was over and eventually with little hope we would ever know what happened to Bill, we decided that we would take our bracelets off, but keep them on a shelf where we would be reminded of him whenever we looked at that shelf.
The traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall (Wall That Heals) came to our home town this week. Last night, with our bracelet in hand, my husband and I went to visit the WALL.
There is a book available that allows you to look up a name and it will tell you if that name is on the wall and if it is…where their name is located.
With bracelet in my shaking hand I opened the book, hoping NOT to find his name. There are over 58,000 names in that book…listed alphabetically. We find Brown, William and there are 7 William Brown’s that died fighting in Vietnam. I look closer trying to figure out if “our Bill” is in the book…and then I see “date of injury 11/3/69” and I know we have found him. All these years we had hoped and prayed he was alive. I can’t tell you the sadness that came over me as we not only found his name on the wall, with the cross before his name, we learned his body has never come home.