A new display case at the Bucks County Justice Center marks eight men who went missing in the Vietnam War
The display case was unveiled during a ceremony at the Doylestown Borough Justice Center last month.
Six of the eight bracelets came from the collection of Levittown resident Evelyn Lyons, whose son, Frank, was serving in the Air Force in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. She collected bracelets bearing the name for prisoners of war and those missing in action.
The county said the bracelets were designed to be worn for as long as a member of the military was missing or in captivity.
Thomas Lyons, Evelyn’s son, wore one of the bracelets for decades. He came in possession of his mom’s remaining five bracelets when she died last year at age 92.
Earlier this year while at the Justice Center, Thomas Lyons spotted the ceremonial Chair of Honor that remembers the more than 90,000 service members who remain missing. He contacted Bucks County Clerk of Courts Mary Smithson, who pushed for the creation of the Chair of Honor, and donated the six bracelets from his family.
Two additional bracelets were donated, including one for unaccounted for Capt. Walter Sigafoos from Northampton.
“These bracelets honor those who have not returned home,” Col. Mark Sherkey, New Jersey’s Inspector General, said at the recent ceremony. “Remember that there is a story behind every one of those … who are still missing. A story of what was, and what was never to become.”
Of eight bracelets on display, three of the men are still missing and five of them now accounted for.
The display case that sits in the lobby of the Justice Center was created by the Bucks County General Services Division.
Smithson was a driving force behind the Chair of Honor and bracelet displace once Thomas Lyons donated his six.
“[Thomas Lyons] came into our Justice Center, saw our empty seat, and asked if we could find a special place,” she said.
Bucks County Commissioners Chairman Robert Loughery, a U.S. Army veteran, spoke of his prisoner of war grandfather who was captured during World War II by the Nazis. Shortly before he died, he shared his story of capture and liberation with a tear in his eye with Loughery’s family. The commissioner told his children to remember the story and sacrifice and pass it on.
Bucks County Judge Gary Gilman spoke and cited county court programs designed for veterans.
“The courage and sacrifice symbolized by the chair behind me will be further symbolized by this display of bracelets for POWs and MIAs,” Gilman said. “Hopefully we’ll be motivated by their sacrifices.”