War consumes many lives, it is cruel fact that was uniquely observed by college students Kay Hunter and Carol Bates Brown, back in 1970 during the height of the Vietnam War.
Each metal bracelet displayed the name, rank and date of capture or lost for each POW who were either taken hostage under the opposition regime in Vietnam or missing in the call of duty.
The commemorative accessories were meant to be worn until they were delivered to the POWs once they returned to US soil and were no longer prisoners – a mark of solidarity. The wearing of the bracelets was a peaceful alternative in honoring the soldiers who dedicated their lives through serving the nation. This was perhaps, a welcome change during a period plagued by protests and riots.
About 5 million POW/MIA bracelets and other war memorabilia were successfully disseminated in the USA by the student group known as VIVA or Voices in Vital America. The names and ranks of the men were uncovered from large-scale media coverage of humiliating propaganda from the North Vietnamese forces who shamed and paraded American soldiers in hopes of wearing away national morale.
The bracelet program began to fade in 1976 as Americans began to turn away from the horrors in Vietnam to focus on national progressions.
At the end of the war, only 661 American soldiers were safely returned to their homes while possibly thousands remained unaccounted for. These bracelets may have been a sorrowful reminder of pain and lost but they also serve as a heartfelt testament to the unity of America and its spirit of strength and compassion.