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Impressed, one of them told her, “We can make this happen.”

Less than ten minutes after the inning’s end, the swipe of a security card began opening doors. Each time her guides explained “She’s with us,” Jane’s confidence grew. Her pulse raced as they descended into the exclusive Diamond Club and then climbed the steps to the VIP section where an attendant stopped them. This attendant knew what a POW bracelet was and hurried to ask if Col. Thorsness was willing to meet Jane.  He agreed.

Her hands moist with sweat, Jane could barely breath as he stood and faced her, tall and every bit as handsome at 78 as he was the first time she saw him on television.  He reached out to her saying, “You had my POW braclet.”

“Yes, and you’re my hero!” Jane’s voice quivered. She swallowed hard to keep her emotions in check. “For two years, you went everywhere with me. We went to school and football games and-

“Did we have a good team,” Col. Thorsness interrupted. “What was our name?”

She told him about the dances and prom, but when Jane mentioned the prayers at her weekly youth group meetings, his eyes filled with tears.

“Wow,” he said.

Acknowledging the war’s unpopularity, Col. Thorsness described how his guards came in every night and told him that America hated this war and hated him for fighting it.

“They said no one cared about us, no one wanted us to come home, and that we’d die there, never seeing home again.” He described how difficult it was to sleep, hearing those words in a prison cell, alone and battered. And yet some nights, for reasons he never understood until now, he slept soundly. Peacefully.

“I’d like to give you the bracelet,” Jane said.

“No, you keep it,” Col. Thorsness replied. “You’re my hero.”

 

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