Thank goodness for forwarded email. Now I understand that some people receive millions of emails that are nothing but an annoyance; like having bad luck if you do not send this email to ten people or how much you love God by sending this on. I have been the recipient of these and a few times have fallen under the spell of forwarding them; but every once in a while there is a pearl among the pebbles of sand.
Today I was going through one of my email addresses; the one I use for friends. I have three main email addresses; one for ordering items online, which usually gets overloaded with spam, one for my writing and things associated with my writing, and the last one is my personal one where my friends send me stuff that they deem important enough for me to read. This is the day that I am thankful for and I will gladly tell you why.
During the Vietnam War, I was a young wife and mother with two small children; one born in 1966 and the other in 1968. Actually if you check the history books, America had a presence in Vietnam as far back as 1955, but escalations occurred when the Third Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, were sent to Vietnam to protect the DaNang airport in March of 1965 by then President Lyndon B. Johnson. Not long after the war was escalated, the numbers of casualties were televised daily on the news and reporters were embedded with troops. The miserable conditions of our soldiers in rice paddies and jungles had me captivated. I suddenly had a new respect for our military and read everything I could get my hands on regarding this war. One of the things near and dear to my heart; were the stories about the prisoners of war and missing in action. I immediately got involved in an organization that sold bracelets with names of our military that were POW/MIA and got two of them. I wore these two bracelets for many years.
These bracelets meant very much to me and I prayed for the safe return of both of these men who I spiritually got to know very well. Through my efforts, I got several people to also wear these bracelets to keep the home fires burning. Having skinny wrists, both of the thin metal bracelets broke, but they were taped together and worn anyway. I was able to replace them and ordered a few of each just to ensure that when they broke, I would have replacements. I joined local organizations that supported the cause and met several people who had returned from Vietnam and the stories they told were amazing. One guy in particular was an acquaintance I made through my part time job and he told me several stories about his fellow soldiers who were lost.
As the years went by and the war finally ended on April 30, 1975, I continued to wear my bracelets. My son who is my oldest child graduated from high school in 1984 and attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Each trip to take him back and forth from school or just a visit became a trip to the Vietnam Memorial. I traced their names and even traced names for friends who could not thank me enough and always had tears in their eyes when I gave them the tracings. Members of the Parks Service who are on duty hand out papers and pencils to do the tracing. When you find the name of the person you are looking for, you put the paper over it and using the side of the pencil point lightly rub around the name, because it is chiseled in the granite, you get the name perfectly written exactly as it appears on the wall and if you center it just right it is suitable for framing. Seeing this memorial is very moving. There are teddy bears, photographs, cards, and flowers all left there by friends and relatives. It is a sight to always remember when visiting our nation’s capital. Now thanks to this email, I found a websitehere for the virtualwall.org that will enable you to find anyone who was lost to the Vietnam War. You can search by name or state. One of my bracelets was a Marine from Oregon and lost on 10/28/68 in South Vietnam and the other was in the US Army and was also lost in South Vietnam on 4/3/72 and he is from the next town from where I lived when I started wearing the bracelets. I have actually visited the memorial that was erected in his home town and now thanks to this wonderful website, I get to stay in touch with others who wore their bracelets too. The website also updates info about our Vietnam veterans and on May 31, 2010, six more names were added to the wall. These deaths were determined to be directly resulting from their service in Vietnam. May they all rest in peace!