The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Two Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety Six

When I was about 9 years old, I asked for, and received, a POW bracelet. For the unintiated, it was a simple metal band, with the name, rank and serial number of an American soldier who was a Prisoner Of War (during the Vietnam War) stamped into it. It was a way to remember the Prisoners of War on a much, much more personal level, and it was something I felt strongly about. I lost the bracelet years ago, though I wish I still had it. It left a definite mark on my childhood. The name on the bracelet, I do still remember. It was Charlie Brown Davis, Jr. I always thought it was a pretty funny name, which gave Charlie and I more familiarity, as opposed to him being a stranger whose name was emblazoned on a bracelet I wore for a short time in my life.

Seeing the information on that linked site (most of which is information I never had known until recently) is like finding an old friend. I had never known that he was born in Kentucky (though I was living in New York state when he and I first became 'acquainted'). But, I find that a rather ironic twist.

I mention this because these people were more than "merely names" on a rapidly increasing list during the early 1970's. They were the brothers and sons and fathers of people I knew when I grew up. While I didn't know Charlie Brown Davis, Jr. personally, I felt like somewhere he had people who loved and missed him, just as much as the people I knew loved and missed their relatives. And he and I became connected. Forever, I guess.

Several months ago, I found a link to a site where someone by the name of D.C. Roe had a notion to individually memorialize each of the 2,996 victims of the 9/11 attacks. A very daunting task, but one I felt was both admirable and worthwhile. Not losing site of the personal impact of such a tragedy is often impossible. (In fact, you can go here to see a list of all the individual tributes. Your humble Oral Reporter is blog #357. I guess that means I got in early, huh?)

So, I sent along a little note and promised that I would be happy to include a post, on this day, remembering someone who had died in that terrible tragedy. That is how I came to be introduced to Keith Eugene Coleman, five years after his death.

I felt it was a particularly rewarding cause, because the group organizing this endeavor made it clear that this was not a finger-pointing expedition. It was not a project meant to talk about the politics of the day at all. It was simply a way to honor each of those who died in a terrible tragedy. Something about that deeply appealed to much the same way the POW bracelets had. Knowing about the person behind the name on the list.

There is some basic information about Keith that can be found here. Sadly, even though he was only 34, he had a younger brother Scott who worked in the same office and suffered the same fate.

This piece gives a little more personal insight into Keith's life. His children, then 2 and six months old, will likely never remember him in their lives. As a parent myself, that hits entirely too close to home.

This was a man with a wife and two kids, getting up and going to work just like any other day...on a day that was anything but any other a famous landmark that would soon become infamous. And while the rest of the world goes on, his wife raises their children and they grow, but a hole is left behind. A hole that will always be a part of those people's lives. That's what death does. The chain reaction doesn't stop when someone dies. It starts. The effects of a death spread in ways and places you can't imagine. It affects those left behind and they, in turn, interact with others, and so it begins.

Maybe not in your world or mine, but in the lives of those who knew him personally, he is NOT just another random name on the list of the dead that day. He is a father and a son and a brother and a husband. He will be cherished and remembered not because he was a victim, but because he was a man. A man who was lost to this world too soon, and who was loved by his friends and family, and who will be missed by them. Always.

I'm thinking of Keith Coleman today.

Thinking of his family.

Wondering how they get through a day like today. I can't even imagine it.

I'm going to send some positive energy their way. And I'm hoping I'm not alone in doing it.


Blogger Sassenach said...

Permalink established by 2996 list captain.

Thank you for taking the time to do this.

9/11/2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

SF: That was a wonderful, poignant tribute. Thank you for putting it out into the world. I had a distant cousin who was a POW (and got to return home) and I always wondered who got his bracelet. It was always a comfort, albeit a small one, knowing that someone else was thinking of him.

Thank you.

9/11/2006 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Jaimie said...

Hello! I don't know if you read comments to such old posts, but I thought I'd write anyway. I used to live in CT...I found your blog because I was doing a search on Charlie Brown Davis, Jr. Last weekend, the moveable memorial wall came to Sacramento, which reminded me of my POW bracelet. I went to the wall to see if his name was on the wall and get a rubbing if it was. Did they only make one bracelet for each name? I'm asking because MY bracelet is for Charlie Brown Davis, Jr.! I can't remember where I got my bracelet...I know someone gave it to me. I'm wondering if you ever lived in CT or PA? Maybe I know you! Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I still have the bracelet. On the moveable wall, they are still showing Charlie as MIA.

9/09/2010 11:01 AM  
Blogger SuperWife said...

Jaimie, I DO read comments to such old blog posts. So, thanks for commenting. I hadn't realized that more than one person could have had the same bracelet, but apparently, it's entirely possible.

Like you, my bracelet was a gift. I never lived in CT or PA. I grew up in upstate NY and received it while living there. I was in Washington, DC 2 or 3 years ago and had the opportunity to see the wall there and took the time to find his name.

I think it's wonderful that you still have the bracelet. I sorely wish I did, too.

Thanks for commenting!

9/09/2010 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith Eugene Coleman is possibly of Melungeon origin due to the last name Coleman. He is the distant cousin of George Washington and Norman Jay and Orman Ray Rambo.

5/07/2011 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canfield D. Boone is the first cousin many times removed of Daniel Boone!

7/27/2011 10:55 AM  

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