East Bay Woman Keeps 38-Year Promise

WALNUT CREEK (CBS 5) — When she was 12, Kathy Strong put on a bracelet bearing the name of a missing Vietnam War soldier. She promised she would not take it off until he came home.

Nearly four decades later, she has kept that promise.

Strong received her bracelet on Christmas Day 1972, engraved with the name of James Moreland.

“I’m just determined once I make a promise,” Strong said, laughing. “Just try to stick with it.”

Moreland was a 22-year-old Green Beret and a former football star. On February 7, 1968, an enemy tank gravely wounded Moreland in the jungles of Lang Vei. The next day, his fellow soldiers escaped, but were unable to take Moreland.

Strong would go on to wear the bracelet around the world, with the pictures to prove it. Last week, she received a call she had been waiting for nearly four decades.

“They just called and said, ‘You won’t believe it, you won’t believe the news. He’s been found. His remains have been found. He’s finally coming home.’ It’s an answer to prayer,” Strong said.

In May, Strong will travel back to Moreland’s hometown in Alabama, finally take off the bracelet and bury it with his remains. Over the years, Strong has collected mementos, appeared in the local newspaper and has grown close to the family of a man she has never met.

“You can’t pray for someone everyday, and think about him everyday. Of course I love him, and I’ve been waiting for him to come home,” Strong said.

Strong said never forgetting was the least she could do.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • minh

    Inspiration to all of us.

  • JaneQPublic

    A picture of the young man would be nice – so we all can see the face of the soldier who died in service to our country. CBS – are you listening?

  • Tillman C D

    Thank-You for caring , I was recovering from wounds I received on and about January 21 1968,in Quang Tri serveing with the USMC I Company 3rdBn 1St Marine 9Th Amphibious Brigade hospitalize in Great Lake Naval Hospital and Trooper your action was up and beyond the call of duty.

  • WW

    Thank you Kathy for being with him and all of us who served. WE are greatful

  • chaz28o

    Nicely done, Kathy

  • DecadesOfPropaganda

    did she know the guy, or was this some sort of protest action instigated by her school teacher?

    • Kodiax

      what a cheesy comnment to leave “Decades”. I guess ill have to be ashamed for you since you obv arent capable of such emotions yourself

    • 12know

      You are such an idiot. The purpose of these bracelets was to remember soldiers who were MIA’s or POW’s. It had nothing to do with protests. You are obviously too young to remember the Vietnam War. Next time, do your research before mouthing off.

      • s

        if that idiot really is too young to remember the war, i’d like to apologize on behalf of my generation. i was born after the war ended but i know what went down during that time and i know how veterans were treated afterward. it truly is tragic and the fact that people like “decades” don’t have any compassion for the soldiers is really sad. what this lady did is amazing. it’s important to honor the men (and now women) who have fought and still fight for our country, whether we know them personally or not. And just so you know “decades”, you can be against war but still support the troops. the s**t they see at war is traumatizing and beyond what we could ever imagine. i don’t support war but i will always support our troops.

    • observesf

      These bracelets weren’t part of any sort of protest action, and those who wore them didn’t know the soldiers whose names were on the bracelets they wore. They were worn in support of those who were MIA (missing in action), which, unfortunately, was fairlly common in the Viet Nam era.

    • Carole Kelley

      You don’t have to know someone to care deeply about them. I care
      very much for every brave person in the military.

  • E.

    Decades of Propaganda, What you don’t know about the subject is a lot, but you’re still willing to try to make this something other than the what it is and that’s an act of human kindness by a young girl/woman who remembered a fallen US soldier for almost 40 years while most of the rest of us forgot about him and all the other MIA/POWs From the Viet Nam War. Bracelets were made in the names of the missing as a way to honor their service and to keep their status as missing known and remembered.
    Whether those wearing the bracelets were for or against the war is irrelevant, the point is she wore the bracelet in honor of a man she never met and remembered him and honored his service for 40 years. Can you say the same? Can you name any one MIA/POW or do you know any of the families of the MIA/POWs who still wait for their sons to come home? For a family of a missing serviceman to know that somebody they’ve never met still remembers their son means more than you can ever know. My cousin, an Army Capt., disappeared on November 25, 1950 in Korea and it would be nice to think that he and the other 8000 men missing from the Korean War and all the thousands of US sevicemen who are still missing from all the wars the US has been a part of were remembered by more than just their families.
    To Kathy Strong thank you for caring and remembering James Moreland, and to James Moreland, welcome home.

    • observesf

      Eloquently said, E.; clearly “decades” needed a little history lesson. Thank you for providing it.

    • s

      they really need to add a “like” button for the comments!
      i concur with “observesf”. your comment is perfectly written.

  • jj

    what a great story! Thanks, Kathy!

  • CC
  • T
  • JoMama

    I salute you Kathy Strong, and as for CC, thank you for the link.

  • http://plastic-blog.365age.com/?p=8314 East Bay Woman Keeps 38-Year Promise « 整形,美容,彩妝部落客

    […] more on CBS San Francisco   […]

  • Rob German

    To Ms. Strong I just want to say “Thank you” for your commitment to the hope that a soldier would return. I just saw the story of the MIA bracetet and Ms. Strong on the CBS evening news. I can’t articulate the feelings that this story stirred in me and I wish her hope and resolve would be shared by all Americans for all U.S. service men.

    I am of the belief that we never showed the returning Vietnam Era vets enough respect, consideration, gratitude and love.

    I am so pleased to see an American with that kind of sentiment. I am in awe.

  • Rachel Sandle

    Kathy is my aunt. so proud : )

  • http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/05/16/east-bay-woman-ends-38-year-vigil-for-mia-vietnam-veteran/ East Bay Woman Ends 38-Year Vigil For MIA Vietnam Veteran « CBS San Francisco

    […] The service marked an end to four decades of uncertainty for Moreland’s friends, family and one totally devoted, total stranger: Kathy Strong of Walnut Creek. […]

  • http://www.allcalifornia.info/news/east-bay-woman-ends-38-year-vigil-for-mia-vietnam-veteran East Bay Woman Ends 38-Year Vigil For MIA Vietnam Veteran | All of California

    […] The service marked an end to four decades of uncertainty for Moreland’s friends, family and one totally devoted, total stranger: Kathy Strong of Walnut Creek. […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Guide To The Holidays
Shine A Light On The Holiday Season With ‘Giving Tuesday’

Listen Live