Colonel John F. O’Grady; The Two Bracelets

The Two Bracelets

My father, Colonel John F. O’Grady was listed as Missing In Action in 1967 after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam and he parachuted into enemy territory.

As the years passed and I still lived with uncertainty not knowing the fate of my dad. I searched for a way to honor and remember my dad, There had was never a funeral or memorial service, I possesed only one photo of my dad and a letter he wrote to me just prior to being shot down. I clung to that letter for years until it was lost in a fire.

I wanted to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall desperately., I wanted to tell my dad, I loved him, missed him and thank him for his sacrifice. My children were very young and finances were meager so I was unable to travel to the Wall.

This was around 03 or 04 and I had discovered there was a Virtual Vietnam Memorial Wall on the internet, so I decided I could at least view his name. After locating my dad’s name on the virtual wall I noticed a memorial page where people could posts comments. I started to read the few posts upon my dad’s page and found Diane Fairben’s post about her years of wearing an MIA bracelet bearing my father’s name. She stated she had grown up in the same small town just down the street from my dad. She had worn the bracelet bearing my father’s name faithfully for many years. She sent her thoughts and prayers to our family. It was a very touching post and I was so moved that I decided to search for Diane.

I eventually found Diane on Facebook and sent her a message to thank her for her support of my dad and our family. After finding Diane, I was heartbroken to learn that she had lost her son, Keith Fairben on 9/11, he was an EMT Worker at the World Trade Towers in New York:

Diane and I maintained some contact through Facebook and despite her tremendous loss she was concerned for me and wished she still had my dads bracelet so she could give it to me, but was lost many years earlier. Despite her tremendous loss she showed great concern and empathy for me, which amazed and impressed me. She asked me if I would like to wear Keith’s bracelet and I said “yes” as it would be a great honor to wear this amazing hero’s name upon my wrist.

Before Diane was able to send me the bracelet a sequence of incredible events occurred. A cousin of Keith’s called Diane requesting some specific items that belonged to Keith, Subsequently Diane went searching through many boxes to retrieve the items the cousin had asked for, and suddenly my dads bracelet appeared. She had not seen it in many years and had no idea where it was or even if she still had it. Subsequently, Diane sent me both bracelets and I wear both bracelets today with great pride. I believe some kind of intervention happened that day.

Keith Fairben is a true American Hero! Diane and I connected because of our shared loss, and I believe Keith and my father have connected in heaven in the special place held for heroes.

Keith was a 24 year old volunteer firefighter and an EMT worker from Floral Park, New York. On 9/11 he was working as a paramedic when the first plane hit the Tower. Keith fairben rushed to the towers so he could help save others.

His dad, Kenneth Fairben, a firefighter, recalled the last time he spoke to his son. When I called him he told me he was very busy at the Towers and to call back later. Kenneth Fairben says he told his son Keith to stay safe and those were the last words he ever spoke to him.

Keith Fairben, a great hero will never be forgotten!


About coloneljohnogrady

Colonel John F. O'Grady a United States Naval Academy graduate, and aeronautical engineer and fighter pilot for the U.S. Air Force was shot down over Vietnam on April 10, 1967. Though he ejected from his crippled aircraft he was listed as Missing In Action. John O'Grady earned the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Two Bronze Medals and the Purple Heart. Read this heroes fascinating story and about the impact on his wife and seven children.
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