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by Brant Parker III

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The Bracelet

By Frederick Bussey, Army

Writing Type: Prose

Second Lieutenant Robert O. Lacey was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. He fought in Korea and went missing in August of 1952. Seven years later, I enlisted in the Air Force. I was stationed at Luke AFB, AZ. Luke AFB was a training base for fighter pilots, so Lt. Lacey would have been stationed there, too.

I served my time in the Air Force and had my share of adventures, but I got to come home and have a life and family, too. I once wore a Vietnam POW bracelet.

But over the years, I lost it. I had joined the American Legion and every time I saw the POW/MIA table, I thought about replacing my missing POW bracelet. I finally sent away for a replacement, specifying Vietnam, When my bracelet arrived, it wasn’t red for Vietnam, but blue, for Korea! I thought, “Oh well. They need to be remembered, too.” So I put the bracelet on. Then, as I read it, I saw these words: “2nd Lt. Robert O. Lacey, U.S. Air Force, 19 August, 1952, AZ.” I thought: This is weird. He was Air Force, I was Air Force. He would have gone through Luke; I went through Luke. He was from Arizona, I settled in Arizona. I began to feel a connection with him. Now I wouldn’t give up my Korean bracelet for anything.

I have two granddaughters, one seven-years-old and one five-years-old. The seven-year-old asked me what my bracelet was for, so I tried to explain what a POW/MIA was and why the Legion-or, as they call it, Grandpa’s Club-has a table set for them. Now, when I drive my grandkids to school we pass the Legion. The POW/MIA table is clearly seen in the window. The man I never knew has become-as silly as it may sound a member of our family.

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