Wife of Col. Benjamin Purcell, US Army
Anne Purcell was no stranger to military life. Her husband, Ben, was career Army. Like tens of thousands of other military wives, she had lived on bases all over the U.S., and had already seen her husband off to war once in Korea. But on February 12, 1968, less than six months after Ben volunteered for a tour of duty in Vietnam, her world suddenly came crashing down when her husband was reported “missing in action”. She and her five children would spend the next several years living in a tortuous state of limbo, wondering whether her husband was dead or alive, whether she was a wife or a widow. In 1970, Anne became a founding member of the National League of Families, an organization that publicized the issue of MIAs and POWs in Vietnam.