Senator gives Trump bracelet honoring fallen Marine

 

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Lance Cpl. Alec Terwiske

At the end of Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump received a bracelet honoring fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Alec Terwiske.

Indiana Sen. Todd Young gave the president the bracelet as the president was walking out of the U.S. House Chamber following his speech. The bracelet displays Alec’s name and rank and when he was killed in action in Afghanistan.

“It’s amazing. The president was given Alec’s bracelet,” said Sandy Terwiske, Alec’s mother. “I’m so happy for Alec.”

Young has stayed in touch with the Jasper woman since Alec, a Dubois native, was killed during combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Sept. 3, 2012, while participating in Operation Enduring Freedom. He was 21.

Young told Sandy about Tuesday’s exchange when he called her Wednesday. Sandy recalled that conversation:

“Todd [Young] handed him the bracelet, and the president said, ‘Is this who we were talking about?’ Todd told him, ‘Yes, and I think his mother would want you to have this.’ He told Todd, ‘We are going to talk more about this.’”

Sandy and Young, a former Marine himself, formed a friendship shortly after Alec’s death. “We would talk every day. He didn’t know it then, but he would talk to me from the time I left work until I got home, which was an hour and 25-minute drive. (Her son Brant was driving.)”

Lance Cpl. Alec Terwiske

About two years later, the two finally met at a party thrown by another Marine. Young noticed Sandy’s bracelet for Alec and they started talking about the bracelet. She took the bracelet off her wrist and gave it to Young.

“He said that he couldn’t take that from me,” Sandy recalled. “I insisted, and told him that I have another one at home. I told him, ‘Every time you have to make some decision, you think about all the fallen. You think about Alec. And you think of what built this country to what it is, and what sacrifices our military are making.’”

Young has always worn the bracelet. “And he has always stayed in touch with me. He called me (Wednesday) night to make sure that I was OK with everything that happened,” Sandy said.

Young asked Sandy if he could share Alec’s story with the president, and she said yes. So he did.

Recently, Sandy asked Young to thank Trump for planning to go to Dover on Thursday to meet the fallen troops who were being returned home.

“That means a lot to me,” she said, “to see a president showing respect for the fallen and realizing that there are American soldiers over there and they are still being killed.”

It was Young’s idea to give the president the bracelet.

“I’ve come to know (Sandy Terwiske) well over the years,” Young said on Fox News. “In fact, I’ve worn her son’s bracelet on my left wrist for a number of years to honor her son. I was able to give that to the president last night because Sandy Terwiske said this president has not forgotten the sacrifices of people like her son Alec. That is something that ought to be unifying.”

The bracelet displays Lance Cpl. Alec Terwiske's name and rank and when he was killed in action in Afghanistan. Photo courtesy Sandy Terwiske

Sandy didn’t know what Young did until she received a text from Ben Knies, one of Alec’s friends, the next morning.

“Was that Alec’s bracelet that Todd Young gave President Trump at the end of it?” Knies asked her in the text.

“I got more texts from Tyler Lampert (another one of Alec’s friends) and other Marines,” Sandy said.

So early Wednesday morning, Sandy watched the end of the speech and saw the exchange. And she immediately recognized the bracelet.

“As soon as I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe Todd did that,’” she said.

She appreciated the gesture, and the fact that he has always stayed in touch with her.

“Todd has never, ever forgotten Alec,” she said.




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