Historical Highlight for July 23, 2023

Historical Highlight for July 23, 2023 – “POW/MIA Bracelets” – here’s a short historical fact from the history of the Vietnam war and the POW experience shared in the new ‘Captured by Love’ book. In each of these nuggets of history are personal and professional lessons that can be applied today:

“Nearly five million people sported POW/MIA bracelets (including John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Sonny & Cher) between 1970 and 1973. They stood in solidarity with the ongoing tragedy of our downed warriors.

“The idea for the bracelets was the brainstorm of two southern California college girls—Carol Bates Brown and Kay Hunter—as a way to remember POWs and MIAs in Southeast Asia. In late 1969, television personality Bob Dornan (who later was elected to the US Congress) introduced them and several other members of VIVA (Voices in Vital America) to three wives of missing pilots. One of those MIA ladies was Carole Hanson, wife of MIA Steve Hanson (his bracelet on the next page). We have captured her story in this book.

“Dornan showed them a bracelet made by mountain people in Vietnam that he was wearing in honor of the POW/MIAs. This led to the idea to use bracelets as a way to garner public support for POW/MIA awareness, which was VIVA’s mission. A local engraver designed the bracelet, and VIVA member Gloria Coppin’s husband financed the first 1200 bracelets. They launched with great success, selling them at $2.50 each (raising approximately $12 million while also rousing public attention).

“These bracelets played an important role in the daily awareness of the POW/MIA plight. On average, there were 1,500 people wearing a bracelet for each POW/MIA. Typically, people wore them constantly and prayed for their bracelet partner daily. Most were silver, but copper ones were also available. In the stories here, you will read of one young lady who wore a bracelet of a stranger, James Bailey. Yes, Suzanne Long learned from his mom that they called him “Bill.” So, Suzy thought of, and prayed for, that stranger for many days and months—Oh won’t you come home Bill Bailey. And one day he did, and it did not take long before she was his wife—Suzy Long Bailey, bearing his name and his children.”

Purchase your copy of ‘Captured by Love’ on the website.


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