McCain: Ron Edmonds / AP; Obama: Charles Dharapak / AP

John McCain, left, wears a bracelet for Corporal Matthew Stanley, who was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb in 2006 at age 22. Barack Obama, right, wears one for Sergeant Ryan David Jopek, who was killed in 2006 at age 20, also by an Iraqi roadside bomb.

During the Sept. 26 Presidential Debate, Senator John McCain vowed to continue fighting in Iraq, noting that he wore a bracelet given to him by the mother of a slain soldier--a woman who'd made him promise, he said, to "make sure [her] son's death was not in vain." Senator Barack Obama immediately responded that he had a bracelet too--given to him by a woman who begged him to "make sure another mother is not going through what I'm going through."

Memorial bracelets have been around since the Vietnam War, when a student group, Voices in Vital America (VIVA), began a campaign...

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