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Bracelets For The Brave

February 19, 2012, 10:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Bracelets For The Brave
In the 1970's, thousands of people wore Prisoner of War (P.O.W.) and Missing in Action (M.I.A.) bracelets bearing the name of a captured or lost soldier.

They did this to keep the person in their hearts and minds, even if they didn't know them personally.

Such is the case for a Sioux Falls woman who has held onto hers for decades. 

This story began 60 years ago when America was in the thick of the Korean War.

A young pilot named Jack C. Langston of Fairfax, South Dakota, was shot down while on a combat mission. Langston was declared MIA in March of that year. His body has never been found.

But his story is far from over at least in the eyes of retired Air Force Tech Sergeant Karen Miller of Sioux Falls. 

"It says Korea that's where his plane went down," Karen Miller said.

She bought this MIA bracelet as a way to remember a fellow veteran; someone who didn't come home from war.

She felt it was her patriotic duty.

Because she wanted one bearing the name of a South Dakotan, she got this one that was inscribed with Captain Langston's name. 

"You're honoring that person and their duty to their country and remembering they fought in a foreign land I will wear it til they bring him back home," Miller said.

That promise she made was 24 years ago. 

"I've taken it all over the world with me: Hawaii, Germany, Alaska, Washington DC, Montana, everywhere I've been it's gone with me everywhere," Miller said.

Next month, will mark the 60th anniversary of when Langston's plane went down. That's why Miller got to thinking, her bracelet needs to take one more final trip and give it back to his family.

"I want them to know what he fought for and giving his life, they should have it they should know that I've carried it, I would like them to have it and keep it and pass it in their family until they bring him home," Miller said.

But she hasn't been able to find any of Langston's relatives. She's been doing research on the internet for over a year, but hasn't had any luck locating anyone. 

"If he had brothers and sisters that their family members will know he was not forgotten," Miller said.

"It would be nice, I hope somebody in the Gregory area would know the Langstons or know relatives that would reach out to family members and let them know I've been carrying this with pride and that it still goes on."

Miller never knew Langston, but feels a strong personal connection to him after wearing his bracelet all these years.

"It's almost like you can picture him standing there thinking about going on this mission and wondering every time am I coming back," Miller said.

And because Langston never made it back, Miller wants to give the family the bracelet and let them know he may have been listed as Missing In Action, but he was never forgotten.

"You know his family gave up a lot, it would mean a lot to me, they would be able to, it's almost like hand them a piece of memory that they can keep," Miller said.

If you have any information to help Miller locate Langston's relatives, she would like to hear from you.

Miller can be reached by email at kamsh@sio.midco.net.

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