A metal bracelet with a simple inscription brought three women to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Marianne Horn, of Connecticut, says she has no connection to the war -- aside from the bracelet she received 46 years ago. It has the name of Lt. Commander Dennis Pike.
"When I was about 7 or 8 years old my mother brought home the bracelet for me and I wore it and kept it for life," Horn said.
U.S. & World
She said her mother gave her the bracelet to honor the POWs and MIA service members of the Vietnam War. The bracelets were sold during the war, letting strangers show support for captured and missing troops, NBC DFW previously reported.
Over the years, Horn tried to find Pike's family. On Memorial Day this year, Horn did some searching online and came across a story on nbcdfw.com.
There it was.
Pike's family lived nearly 2,000 miles away in Texas. The story was about his daughter, Shannon Spake, and how she has never given up on finding out what happened to her father who has been missing in action since March 23, 1972.
The station connected Horn and Spake by phone and the two women quickly made plans to meet in Washington, D.C.
They met on Wednesday, along with Spake's mother, Lou Ann Pike.
"The only thing I really remember is his singing voice and the smell of Old Spice," Spake said of her father.
She was just 2 years old when he disappeared, but says he always lived on through her mother, who would tell her children stories about their dad.
"He flew 132 combat missions," Lou Ann Pike said.
Pike was forced to eject from a plane during a bombing run over Laos on March 23, 1972.
He "went down with plane problems and the ejection seat did not work," Pike said.
His family spent years hoping that he’d return, praying for closure and working to make sure people remember the names that are on the Vietnam memorial wall.
"There’s a void having stories that people tell you about your dad and knowing that he was a kind man and a very much devoted family man -- that if I were to be missing, he would never give up on me," Spake said.
Spake, Pike and Horn walked to the memorial and found Lt. Commander Pike's name on the wall.
They then prayed together and honored the life of the American hero who is missing, but will never be forgotten.
"Dad if you can hear me, help us find you and bring you home. Amen."