James Moreland was a Green Beret who went to Vietnam and had been missing for 43 years, nearly twice as long as he was alive. Forty-three years of his family not knowing what happened to him. Fearing the worst. Fearing he would never come home. Fearing, just fearing.
Well about a year ago some of their fears were put to rest, James was coming home. Home to people that still missed him, to people that were no longer alive, to people that were not born when he left and to one complete stranger who had worn his name on her arm for just about 39 years.
In a time when people treated troops coming home from Vietnam with protests and spit one young girl put a bracelet with a strangers name on it on her wrist. When a country turned their backs on these vets a young woman wore a bracelet with a strangers name on it on her wrist. When most of us had forgotten that there were still men missing in southeast Asia a woman wore a bracelet with a strangers name on it on her wrist.
She is Kathy Strong and she never let go of James Moreland. She never forgot his name. She may not have known anything about him. At some point it would have been so easy for her to just take that bracelet off, but she didn't.
She wore it every day. She wore it to work. She wore it on vacation. She wore it to family functions. She wore it when she cried. She wore it when she laughed. She wore it. She wore it. She wore it.
Until finally on May 14, 2011 she was able to take it off and place it on the empty sleeve of James' uniform and have it buried with his remains in a small family cemetery next to his mom and dad in his home state of Alabama.
James had finally come home. Home to those he had left behind. Home to those he had never met. Home to that one stranger that would never meet him, that would only know him thru family photos and stories from those that knew him as a kid, a young man that went to war.
Kathy Strong made sure that James Moreland was not forgotten. Most of us can only hope to be remembered by those that love us for that long, let alone someone that never met us.
Thank you Kathy Strong.