Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Bracelet - A Story of Inspiration

Obama forgot the name on his KIA bracelet during the debate. For the record, the 20 year old soldier that died and whose name is on Obama's prop bracelet is Sgt. Ryan David Jopek.

We have a story about bracelets - an experience that stays with us as we wear a KIA bracelet. Our bracelet, with Cpl William M. Amundson Jr's name, will stay on our wrist until the war is over. It has come off once in two years, for an MRI.

Our story:

Like Amundson, Karl was a corporal in the Army once. (The comparison ends there. Amundson was a Ranger, and deployed to war for his country.)

We were assigned to an MP unit tasked with prisoner of war processing. In one training exercise, we were tasked to process some soldiers from another unit. We had to split the 'prisoners' in different holding areas, surrounded with concertina wire, depending on their status - POW, civilian detainee, etc.

When we bring the 'prisoners' into the processing center, we take and inventory their possessions. Wallets, watches, and other personal items. In other words, we had such a tight operation, troops trusted us with their money! This was my job that day, along with fingerprinting.

There I am at my station and this guy shows up wearing a POW bracelet. I turn to my sergeant, and he says to add it to the inventory, to have the guy take it off. The soldier says "No, this bracelet stays on". A little chat with the sergeant and lieutenant, and we decide not to push it.

This guy gets a designation that puts him alone in a holding area.

My 12+ hour shift ends and I join my team in the bivouac area, within site of the holding areas. And there is that guy walking, very slowly, in a circle in his holding area. Weird. Maybe he's getting into the spirit. All other prisoners are sleeping or joking around. Volunteering as a prisoner of war in a training exercise sure beats other options!

The next day, we're getting ready for our next shift, and there is the guy, still walking a circle! He wore a path about 2-3 inches deep in the ground. Same slow pace - in the zone!

That was in the late 80's, when many soldiers wore the POW bracelet. We considered wearing one ourselves, but decided, from this experience above, that we had not yet earned the right to such an honor.

The bracelet is not a prop. It is not a political statement. It is not a means to an end. It is a private tribute to America's best.

Stay tuned. We have another bracelet story.

Go to Ranger Joes, our favorite store outside Fort Benning, to order a bracelet.

Bill Dyer, at Hugh Hewitt, has more on the Obama bracelet if you aren't disgusted enough.

UPDATE 9.28: Newsbusters reports the family asked Obama not to wear the bracelet.

No comments: