DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Hardly a day went by over the past 12 years that Tracy Cranmer, 46, of Dover-Foxcroft didn’t glance at the silver bracelet that bore the name of Maj. James E. Dennany and the date 11/12/69.
The POW-MIA bracelet was one of two that Cranmer’s mother gave to her years ago to remember the servicemen and women who were missing in action or were prisoners of the Vietnam War. Cranmer said she had kept the bracelet bearing Dennany’s name and given the other to a good friend.
Cranmer said she often thought about Dennany’s sacrifice and was surprised when she picked up a newspaper in January and read that Dennany’s body had been recovered and returned to U.S. soil.
Dennany, 34, an airman, was shot down over Laos in 1969 and was missing until his remains reportedly were found and eventually identified, according to the Department of Defense. His remains were buried Jan. 14 in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Cranmer said she was at work and had glanced at a newspaper story regarding the burial when she spotted the familiar name.
“I’ve seen that name a million times on my left hand,” she said. Because the bracelet caught on some clothing, she had taken it off and had placed it on the rearview mirror of her car. “I went out to the car, took it off the mirror, and I brought it in.”
The Dover-Foxcroft woman said she made a quick call to her mother, a retired assistant chief of the Veterans Administration in Miami, to inform her.
“You get the goose bumps feeling,” she recalled. Her first thought, she said, was, “I’ve got to get this to his family.” She reached out to the Bangor Daily News for help.
The BDN contacted James E. Dennany Jr. of Humble, Texas, on Thursday evening, and he was thrilled that Cranmer was willing to turn the bracelet over to the family. Only 8 years old when his dad’s plane was shot down, Dennany said he has held on to the memories of his father and has passed them down to his children.
Dennany said all but one of his five surviving siblings had obtained a bracelet honoring their father, so this addition would make it complete.
“It’s incredible that somebody cared about my dad, a man that they didn’t know,” Dennany said of Cranmer. The bracelet will be very much appreciated, he said.