POW Bracelets


Physical Description

Three bracelets.

Specific History

Worn to honor and increase awareness of POW/MIA soldiers. Traditionally, these bracelets were worn until the POW returned to the United States at which time the bracelet was presented to the former prisoner.

General History

The idea for POW bracelets originated in 1970. Carol Bates Brown and Kay Hunter were college students looking to support U.S. troops in Vietnam without being involved in the controversy of demonstrations and protests. Through their student group VIVA (Voices in Vital America), they were able to distribute millions of bracelets and other memorabilia nationwide.

POWs in the Public Eye

During the Vietnam War, American prisoners were a focus of public attention as never before.

Over 4,000 Americans were captured during World War I; more than 130,000 were taken prisoner during World War II; 7,000-plus were held in Korea. The American public knew little of their plight. But Americans were painfully aware of the 726 who were prisoners of war in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese paraded them in a sophisticated propaganda campain to erode public support for the war. POW families launched awareness campaings, and the media gave the POW situation extensive coverage. At the war's end, 661 returned home. Some Americans believe that thousands more "missing in action" were left behind.

20th Century Prisoners of War

World War I: 4,120 captured; 3,973 returned

World War II: 130,201 captured; 116,129 returned

Korea: 7,140 captured; 4,418 returned

Vietnam: 726 captured; 661 returned

Date Made: ca 1970

Remembered On Bracelet: Grubb, Newk

Location: Currently not on view

Associated Place: VietnamWorn: United States

Related Event: Vietnam WarPostwar United States

Subject: POWs

See more items in: Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military, Military, ThinkFinity


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2004.0083.41Accession Number: 2004.0083Catalog Number: 2004.0083.41

Object Name: POW braceletbracelet

Physical Description: metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 1/2 in x 3 in x 2 in; 1.27 cm x 7.62 cm x 5.08 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ab-8a0a-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1273063

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