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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Worthy Of A Blog Post

A year ago, I used to be an avid Blogger. Blogging weekly and sometimes daily about my life until a voluntary career change pulled me away from my "free time" and caused me to lose touch with the Blogging world. I rarely read the Blogs that I regularly followed and as you can see from the date of my last Blog post....I rarely post too.

But.....this is something that occured because of MY BLOG and is definitely worth of Blogging about. So here I go.....

On Memorial Day 2009, with the help of my brother Hank's Blog, I posted THIS POST about remembering those who fight and who have fought for our freedom. Nothing special, just a post from the heart about being thankful for our freedoms and remembering those, especially Lt. Tom Costen, who was a POW in Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and ultimately killed. I didn't think anything of it....until a couple of weeks ago, when I opened up my email and found a notice that someone had posted a comment to my blog. This is what it said: "My name is Jan. I am in possession of an Operation Desert Storm bracelet with Lt. William T Costen's name engraved on it. (St. Louis U.S.N. POW 1991 age 27) I would like to return this bracelet to his family. My email is..."

At first I was a bit skeptical as I periodically got "SPAM" comments when I was actively blogging but they had stopped. But this one made me hesitate. Hesitate from deleting it and actually made me respond to the comment with some interest. Much to my surprise the person responded back to me and it lead into a week of emails back and forth, a real conversation with a complete and utter stranger. A stranger named Jan.

Jan's Father was in US Air Force, fought in WW II, Korea and Vietnam, her husband was a US Marine who fought in Vietnam and her son is now a US Marine. To say that her life has been all about the US Military is probably an understatement. She has lived and breathed it all of her life. In one of her emails to me, Jan explained that she didn't know where she came to obtain the bracelet that she had with Tommy's info on it, she thought it may have been from a fund raiser during Operation Desert Storm but that she felt very deeply about wanting his family to have it. Ultimately, our conversations ended with my offering to help her return it to Tommy's family knowing how to reach his Mother and/or Father's widow, and waiting to see if she would send it to me....a complete and utter stranger to her.

Yesterday, as I was hanging out at home with Tim and the boys, the door bell rang and there on the ground was a package addressed to me.....from Jan. I was shocked! She sent it! She really sent it! I started to open it as the boys asked "What is it Mommy? What is it?" I hadn't told Tim anything about my email exchanges with Jan for fear that he'd think I was nuts; so I started explaining the story to him. I read Jan's letter to him and then opened the gold foil box that accompanied and this is what I found.... This beautiful bracelet - with Tommy's information on it.







I had chills reading Jan's letter and still do today as I type my post. The power of the Internet amazes me. Once just a vast unknown, it is now a way of life for all of us. Facebook has grown from what I thought was a stupid and pointless website, to an amazing way connecting with friends and something that has brought me back in contact with those I had lost touch with a long time ago and a way of just "keeping in touch" with others.

The Internet is a tool for banking, for Blogging and to find things that we're searching for and that's exactly what Jan did! Into Google or whatever search engine she was using she typed in Lt. Tom Costen's name and there in the list of links that was returned to her was my blog post that contained his name. Had I not taken the info from my brother's Blog and posted it into mine, Jan and I would have never been connected. We would have never communicated, and never been able to return the bracelet to Tommy's family as she wished to do.

So......tomorrow I am going to help Jan do what she set out to do when she commented on my Blog; Return this beautiful bracelet to the family of Lt. Costen. A somewhat awkward phone call it will be to make. But one that I will be very proud and honored to make - because I will be doing it In Honor of someone who fought bravely for ME & for Jan. Two complete and utter stragers - connected by two things, the Internet and a bracelet.

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4 comments:

Mary Lee said...

Libby-
My name is Carolyn and today I had lunch with my mother, Catherine Costen and my Grandmother, mother of Lt. Tom Costen. I am Tom Costen's niece, and although I was only 3 when he died, today I held his bracelet in my hand. I know it means a lot to my family that the bracelet was returned and we thank you for being the caring and patriotic person that you are. Today's lunch is what brought me to Google my Uncle's name today and came across your blog. You are right, it truly is amazing how the Internet can bring people together. Again, thank you for your post and helping to return a simple item that means a lot.

Sincerely,
Carolyn

Libby said...

Carolyn - my pleasure. Tom was a true hero in every sense of the word. I am just fortunate to have known him before he was taken from this world too soon.

He will always be remembered. I am so happy that I was able to help Jan in returning his bracelet to your Grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn, it amazes me when I think of the journey of that bracelet and, what it stands for. It represents a true American Hero. We are forever grateful for his sacrifice.
Thanks again Libby for your help in its travels.

Jan

Heather said...

Libby - I think I commented on your brother's blog as well? I too had one of these bracelets as a teenager and kept it in my jewelry box always wondering, hoping, praying that things would turn out for his family. After the internet changed the way we can access information, I learned of Tom's fate and did my best to track down an address for his brother. I mailed the bracelet and a letter to him. While I never received a response, I did have a lighter heart knowing that his family would be far more appreciative to have that bracelet back than just having it sit in my closet. This stranger whose name I wore even when it wasn't fashionable touched my young life and remains in my thoughts on days like Memorial and Veteran's Days. Thank you to you and your brother for using your writing to give a voice to him and sharing his memory with us.