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Sarah Palin's Bracelet: I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means **UPDATED

Chalk up yet another tick on the board of things that Palin doesn't understand: I hadn’t noticed it until I watched MSNBC’s “Hardball” on T

Palin-Bracelet_9f980.JPG

Chalk up yet another tick on the board of things that Palin doesn't understand:

I hadn’t noticed it until I watched MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Tuesday, but it is a memorial bracelet; something familiar to veterans who have lost friends and family in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wear one commemorating a friend of mine who died in Baghdad in October of 2006, and I know many other veterans — and some still in the armed forces — who wear these bracelets as a reminder of the sacrifices their friends made on behalf of the units in which they served and the country they swore to protect.[..]

This brings me back to my issue with Palin. The name on her black memorial bracelet — one, like the gold star, a demonstration of a friend or associate who was killed in action — is that of her oldest son, Track. Track served honorably in Iraq, and both he and his parents should be thanked for his selfless service to his country. He is also alive.

Commemorating Track’s service by wearing a black memorial bracelet which is reserved for those dead or even a red bracelet for those missing in action, demonstrates a horrifying contempt for those who gave their last full measure of devotion or an almost unbelievable ignorance of the importance of symbols in American history.

Unfortunately, given Palin’s reputation and frequent public statements, I assume it is the latter.

Sarah Palin, please take off the bracelet. Be thankful you have no reason to wear it.

As a mother, I am flabbergasted by the symbolism of this on many levels. I understand wanting to keep something close to me to remind me of my son as he risks his life on the battlefield--a button with his picture, maybe one with the crest of his specific branch of the military or even the ubiquitous yellow ribbon. Remember how Jim Webb wore his active duty son's combat boots while campaigning? But to wear a bracelet that someone had to order that would clearly indicate it's a memorial bracelet for your child that's alive? Horrifying.

UPDATE: Looks like the original writer and I should have fact checked more closely. Per a comment at the original op-ed:

About Ms. Palin's HeroBracelet.

We sent her those bracelets during the last election. When we learned that her son, Track and Senator Biden's son were both being deployed overseas, we sent them both Deployed HeroBracelets with their son's names.

We've been providing Deployed HeroBracelets since 2004 for families to wear while their loved ones were serving. They can be made from sterling, copper, leather or bronze colored anodized aluminum (black is reserved for KIA).[..]

So she isn't out of line for wearing the Deployed HeroBracelet. There are ten's of thousands of families around the country wearing them right now. On the HeroBracelets web site, we've got hundreds of letters from families, many vowing to not take the bracelet off till their loved one comes home.

Chris Greta

Director HeroBracelets.org

www.herobracelets.org

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