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WQED teams with students on POW bracelet project |

WQED teams with students on POW bracelet project

Mary Pickels
Roxanne Dreher, 60, of Hempfield, continues to wear the MIA bracelet she donned as a teen-ager in honor of Marine Sgt. Orval Skarman of Minnesota. Skarman was declared missing in action in Vietnam in 1968, and is presumed to be dead, according to the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.

Students whose parents may not have been born during the Vietnam War, or who may only vaguely recall the conflict, will work with WQED on a project to collect stories through Prisoner Of War bracelets.

As part of its community engagement initiative in conjunction with Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” (airing through Sept. 28 on PBS stations), WQED will partner with North Hills Middle School.

During the Vietnam War, people all over the country wore metal bracelets stamped with the name and serial number of American POWs held in captivity. It was hoped that the bracelets would be sent to soldiers who returned after the war but, many never came home.

On Sept. 25, a one-hour screening of a section of Burns’ documentary will be held for North Hills and Elizabeth Forward middle school students. Following a panel discussion, 20 students will be presented with bracelets with the names of POWs who did not come home. Nine North Hills students will then conduct their own research to find family, comrades or friends of the POWs to tell the story of those who were lost and the impact the war had.

Each student will produce a media presentation on their findings by the end of December, and each presentation will be available on the WQED website in January.

According to a release, the goal of the initiative is to familiarize students with the Vietnam War era and show how history can connect generations.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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