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P.O.W. bracelet from 1966

A POW bracelet (or POW/MIA bracelet) is a nickel-plated or copper commemorative bracelet engraved with the name, rank, and loss date of an American serviceman captured or missing during the Vietnam War.

The bracelets were first created in May 1970 [1] by a California student group called Voices in Vital America with the intention that American POWs in Vietnam not be forgotten. The bracelets sold for $2.50 or $3.00. Those who wore the bracelets vowed to leave them on until the soldier named on the bracelet, or their remains, were returned to America.

Between 1970 and 1976 approximately 5 million bracelets were distributed.


  1. Allen, Michael J. Until the Last Man Comes Home. The University of North Carolina Press, 2009. Page 57.
  • Hawley, Thomas M. The Remains of War: Bodies, Politics, and the Search for American Soldiers Unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005. Page 51.
  • Hesse, Rayner W. Jewelrymaking Through History: An Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2007. Page 30.
  • Holsinger, M. P. (1999). War and American popular culture: A historical encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. Page 409-410.
  • Morris, Bernadine. "Bracelet That Stands for a Cause." The New York Times 17 June 1972.
  • Wiest, A. A., Barbier, M., & Robins, G. (2010). America and the Vietnam War: Re-examining the culture and history of a generation. New York: Routledge. Page 181

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