Nearly half-century old POW bracelet returned to owner
Posted April 4, 2015
Fayetteville, N.C. — Harold Flowers and Raymond Schrump have been connected to one another for nearly half a century, but they met for the first time on Saturday.
Flowers was an eighth grader in 1968 when his parents bought him a POW bracelet.
“Back then, from what I understand, they bought it and when the prisoner of war either came home or they located him, we were supposed to try and get this bracelet to them,” he said.
Schrump was a U.S. Army major who served in Vietnam and Korea.
"May 23, 1968, I was captured by the Vietcong and held until February 12, 1973," he said.
Schrump, whose many military honors include a Purple Heart, said he thought he was going to die five times while held captive.
"I guess I was right on the verge of dying,” he said. “I couldn't walk. I was coughing up blood -- all from the malnutrition and disease.”
Flowers grew to adulthood, and Schrump retired from the Army. But until John Elskamp of the Veteran's Legacy Foundation helped the two men connect, the bracelet remained unclaimed.
Flowers said he had been trying to find Schrump for the 47 years.
On Saturday, the men met at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville where Flowers was able to return the bracelet to its owner.