When Sgt. Frank Cybulski was wounded by a mine in Vietnam in 1970, he was hospitalized and finally sent home, but his hunting knife remained behind. A friend who was beside him when he was injured collected the tool—and has held onto it ever since, sharpening it periodically. "I don’t know why, but I felt that someday I would see him again," Sgt. Loyd Cates tells the Detroit News. Now, after 43 years, the knife is back in Cybulski's hands. When he opened its box, "I started crying," he says.
Cates and Cybulski have both wrestled with memories of the war, but Cates recently decided it was time to pass the knife back to its original owner. He found a Facebook group for people from Cybulski's hometown of Hamtramck, Mich.; the group's creator contacted Cybulski's ex-wife, and she contacted him. A second call from the Detroit News to the ex-wife prodded Cybulski to phone Cates. From there, it was easy: "Anytime you run into an old Vietnam buddy ... you just take up where you left it," Cates says. Now, Cybulski plans to leave the knife at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC. (Read more Vietnam stories.)