In the early 1970’s the stainless-steel POW bracelets were a popular accessory proudly worn. My cousin, who fought in the Vietnam war, gave me my very own bracelet and I wore it for years. Back then we didn’t have immediate access to information so I would write to the government about my POW, Lt. Fred Fortner, who was declared missing in action on October 17th, 1967. Wearing his name around my wrist, I felt a connection to him and a responsibility to keep track of his rescue. Sadly, he never came home, and his body was recovered in 1988. I still have the bracelet and, in those moments, when I am in my “clean the clutter” mode, I contemplate giving it away yet he was a soldier with a family who loved him and for the years I was devoted to wearing the bracelet, he felt like my family. Each year, I would write to the government about Fred’s status and a letter came back “unknown” with the promise that when he returned home, I would be notified. The letter never came and as the years passed and I went away to college and started my career, I stopped writing. As the internet became popular, I searched again and at the time found the details that I hoped I would never hear in a link similar to this: https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=272896.
There are some people reading this email who are Veterans both female and male. You are so courageous to willingly put your life on the line to protect our country, without any question. What did that feel like? I can write about leadership everyday yet defending our country with pride is the ultimate display of leadership by literally putting your life on the front line, every day. I don’t have the military credentials to salute you so I bow my head to you in honor and profound thanks that you put your life at risk to save mine.
May God bless and protect the brave people serving our country today and may we all, do everything possible to make our world a better place for our veterans in need.
Happy Veterans Day.