WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Many Marines are furious by the Corps recent ban on memorial bracelets, which lets them honor their fallen comrades. WWAY spoke with a Camp Lejeune Marine who is very upset by the new rule.
The KIA, or Killed In Action bracelets, are worn by Marines in honor of friends who died serving their country. But the corps does not allow jewelry, which has some Marines demanding an exception be made to the rule.
“Here’s how I look at it: I respect more the people who died in a combat zone than the people who is saying jewelry, because obviously they don’t know what they’re talking about,” said a Camp Lejeune Marine Corps sergeant who did not want to disclose his name.
He says he started wearing a KIA bracelet following his deployment to Afghanistan. Two of his close friends and teammates were killed in action while on deployment and he wants to memorialize them by wearing their names on his wrist.
“Why I wear it is to remind myself day to day that it’s my job to live for these people that didn’t come back,” the sergeant said.
However, the Corps does not allow jewelry, with only few exceptions including discreet watches, rings and simple earrings worn by women. The memorial bracelets are not authorized.
“I would like to think if I were killed that people would want to remember me,” the sergeant said.
He says the uniform rule is outdated and so far no one he knows is taking the regulation seriously. He says he will continue to wear the bracelet and considers it a duty to live for them.
“They don’t have any more opportunities,” he said. “They’re dead, so therefore I have to take what opportunities I have and make the most of them.”
The Marine Corps is not alone in having specific rules regarding jewelry. There are similar rules for each branch of the military.