The Silver Bracelet

A True Story of Patriotism

Carol was a 16 year old high school girl in the summer of 1970. The war in Vietnam had a personal meaning to her. Carolís brother was there. He had been drafted right after graduating from college and shortly after he had been married.

Carol learned about an organization that was producing and selling bracelets to honor the many POWS/MIAS that the war had produced and she decided to order one. The information on her bracelet was inscribed Maj. Wesley Schierman 8-28-65. Even though Carol knew nothing about Maj. Schierman, she wore the bracelet constantly. This commitment inspired Carolís mother to write a poem about the bracelet. Later, Carol taped a copy of the poem to her desk while she was in college. The poem appears below at the conclusion of this story.

After the war ended, Carol tried to find out what became of Maj. Schierman. She was told that he was not listed as being deceased nor was he among those who returned home. Many years later, Carolís cousin found an email address for Major Schierman. Carol was excited to learn he was alive. He had returned home in 1973.  Carol later found out what happened.  Originally, he began his flight over Viet Nam as a captain with the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron during the Vietnam War flying an F-105 Thunderchief out of Korat Air Base, Thailand.   But while leading a formation of four aircraft Aug. 25, 1965, on a mission to attack a military barracks near Hanoi, something happened.   His gun jammed.   He bailed out.   He became a prisoner of war.  He had been shot down over North Vietnam and had spent almost 7 Ĺ years as a prisoner of war. During part of that time, he was in a cell next to John McCain.

After his release, he returned to his civilian life as an airline pilot for Northwest Airlines and retired in 1995. On September 23, 2005 something exciting happened.  He was invited by the 67th to fly one more mission and "complete the landing" that he never made 40 years before.

Click here to read about that event as it appeared in the Air Force Link - the Official Website of the United States Air Force.

The story of Major Wesley Schierman had come full circle.

THE SILVER BRACELET

I wore a bracelet, silver, thin,

I prayed for a boy and for his kin.

I wore the bracelet day and night.

It was never for a minute out of sight.

I wore that bracelet with any clothes.

I wore it because he was one of those!

I wore the bracelet with slacks and jeans.

Iíd not have removed it for kings or queens.

I wore the bracelet with my Sunday best.

I prayed for him to soon come West.

I wore the bracelet to parties galore,

When my long dresses touched the floor.

I wore the bracelet, it kept me warm,

For he wore for me a uniform!

I wore the bracelet and I could sleep,

For he risked his life our freedom to keep.

I wore his bracelet, I knew him not,

That distant place, on the map, just a dot.

I wore the bracelet, I wrote to him.

I knew chances could be very grim.

I wore the bracelet when the peace was signed,

He was hardly then out of my mind.

I wore the bracelet, my eyes a mist,

My moistened hands clenched in a fist.

I wore the bracelet when those names were read.

Maybe for him no more tears would be shed.

I wore the bracelet, I heard not his name!

My heart was pounding, this was no game.

I wear the bracelet, the tensions oíer.

Those on that list are leaving the shore.

Iíll wear the bracelet until I know

Each boy and man can homeward go.

Iíll wear that bracelet, and if with God heís asleep,

I, a silent mourner, with his loved ones will weep.

Always that bracelet I will save,

If for me and you his life he gave.

Iíll look often at that bracelet and I will pray,

God, please let him come home someday.

~ Written by Carolyn Finck ~

 

 

 

 

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