The Story of the Vietnam POW Bracelets

In the early 1970s, millions of Americans bought and wore metal bracelets inscribed with the name of one American who was missing in action or a POW in Vietnam. Those bracelets were the project of Carol Bates Brown, who was a student at what is now Cal State Northridge and a member of the conservative student group Voices in Vital America (VIVA).
Brown became national chairwoman of the bracelet campaign for VIVA and worked six days a week, from morning to midnight. "My mother would find me asleep in my bed covered with checks and bank deposit slips," she said. She eventually dropped out of school.

"There was something about a specific name being on them," said Brown, 62, who went on to work on POW/MIA issues for the nonprofit National League of Families and later for the Pentagon. "People made a personal connection — 'I'm watching out for this guy.'"

The plight of the POWs gave people a way to separate their feelings toward policymakers from their feelings toward those who fought in the war — a shift in public attitude still evident today. Whatever people think of U.S. policy on Iraq and Afghanistan, support for the troops remains strong.

Over the years, many who wore the bracelets got in touch with "their" POW if they returned from the war, or their survivors. The L.A. Times talked with several veterans who were contacted and the civilians who sought them out. Some have stayed in touch for many years. Link -via Fark

(Image credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times)

PS: The POW whose bracelet I wore has never been found.

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Once I was crossing the border from Canada to the US and the border guard was being a real bastard to me. When he saw I was wearing mine, he asked me who it was for and then waved me through without another word. Nice.
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I had several of these when I was younger. My father is a Vietnam Vet so they mean a lot to me. Sadly I moved from Texas, where I got the bracelets, and I don't think they made the move with me. I was never able to find out if my soldiers made it home.
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