50 years after he was shot down, a former P.O.W. renews a bond

A 40 year journey finally came to end after a former Vietnam Prisoner of War got a special bracelet.

NEW MARKET, MD (WUSA9) - Who knew a single ounce of copper could be worth so much? For two men separated by a continent, it carries a half century of memories.

And now it’s come full circle.

Colonel John Fer, Air Force, retired, knew we were coming to his home here in New Market. He knew we had a gift.

RELATED: A bracelet, a former POW, and an 40 year old connection

We'd talked to the former POW last month about his former cellmate, John McCain.

In California, a man named Warren You saw the story and recognized Fer's name.

“And I went, 'Fantastic, I will reach out to you guys and see if you can help me.,'" he said. 

For 45 years, Warren You had kept a bracelet with John Fer's name on it. He -- like thousands of other young Americans – had paid a dollar or so and worn it, convinced it would help bring the prisoners of war home safe from captivity in Vietnam.

"I knew he'd make it back home,” said You. “And I just want him to know there was someone out there."

Warren You sent his bracelet to us, and we brought the bracelet back to the old warrior.

“This is amazing,” said Fer, as he unwrapped the package. “If we weren't here, I'd probably start crying. It's a very emotional. It's a very emotional subject.”

Turns out this isn't the first time. “I have hundreds of them,” said Col. Fer.

But every time someone sends one to him, it touches his heart and reminds him of his connection to so many people who worried about him.

“I have kept this bracelet safe,” he said reading from the note You enclosed with this bracelet. “I love that word, 'Kept it safe,' for over 45 years… I'm going to frame this. No one has ever said it better than that.”

Whenever someone contacts him to return one of the hundreds of bracelets with his name on them, Fer tells them he will gladly accept it -- or they can keep it in memory of their bond, and the commitment they made decades ago to bring him home safe.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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