Capt. Speicher Coming Home
My mother texted me this morning at 8:30, unsure if I and my friends were still asleep in our Baltimore hotel room.
Fox reports Scott [Speicher’s] remains found. [Bedouins] buried body in desert after seeing plane go down. Army dug in desert 1 wk finding bone fragments and jaw. DNA confirmed.
Friends and long-time readers know I have followed Capt. Speicher’s case since early 2001, when President Clinton, in one of his final acts before leaving office, announced the Department of Defense had changed his status from KIA-BNR (killed in action, body not recovered) to MIA. Nine months later, President Bush announced another change from MIA to POW. Army special forces in Iraq after the 2003 invasion searched diligently for Speicher or any information about him.
On behalf of an organization of Speicher’s high school friends from Jacksonville, Florida, I co-organized a candlelight vigil on the west lawn of the United States Capitol to mark the 13th anniversary of the night he was shot down over Iraq and to petition the White House, Congress, and the Pentagon to remain diligent in their search. The day after the vigil, I put on Capt. Speicher’s POW-MIA bracelet. I have not taken it off since, not even for one second. When his remains land on U.S. soil, I will remove the bracelet and send it to his family.
The news has been very emotional for me, not because I knew him (my only personal connection is that we share the same birthday) but because one becomes attached to a captive or missing service member after wearing his or her bracelet. It is something I can’t explain, but for those who have worn or still wear bracelets, no explanation is necessary.
Thus ends what was already, for a very different reason, a painful two weeks. I am reminded once again that prayers are not always answered in the way we want. But at least in this case, there is some finality.
Life, like love, is uncertain. Embrace them both.