Presenting HeroBracelets to Iraqi leaders.
We got this wonderful letter from Deb Meyers today. She lost her step-son in Iraq five years ago and presented President Bush with a HeroBracelet bearing his name, PFC Jason Meyer.
08 APR 2008 marked the 5th anniversary of Jason's death. We were able to go to Arlington Cemitary, Washington, DC to be with Jason that day. On 09 APR 2008, we were privileged to be invited to a very special ceremony. We took part in a wreath laying ceremony with other Gold Star families, as well as top Military officials & the Ambassador from Iraq to the US, Samir Sumaida'ie, who lost a cousin and Brigadier General Ismael Alsodani from Iraq, who lost a brother fighting with our military. We also attended a special dinner with them on Wednesday evening.
After dinner, the Ambassador presented each family with a special memento...an acrylic block with a laser engraving, thanking each of us for the service of our loved ones. The people of Iraq celebrate 09 APR as "Iraqi Liberation Day" since that's the day that Baghdad fell and Sadam Hussein fled. Mr. Sumaida'ie told us that we fight the same enemy & worship the same God. He also said we all desire a strong Democracy for Iraq.
As you may remember, about 2 years ago, I had the priviledge of presenting my "original" HeroBracelet to President Bush. I had the opportunity to speak with him briefly in DC last September and he assured me that the bracelet is safely in his collection. During the presentation ceremony, it struck me that what Mr. Sumaida'ie said was true...there ARE a lot of parallels between our losses & theirs. It also struck me as bittersweet that we grieved the day the Iraqi people celebrated 5 years ago.
I knew what I had to do. I spoke with his aide and explained what I wanted to do. After the presentations were finished, he brought Mr. Sumaida'ie, General Alsodani, and American Gen. Speakes over to our table. I told him that we had also just had an anniversary, but that we still celebrated with the people of Iraq the day after Jason died. I explained that, 2 years ago I gave a "Jason bracelet" to the President & now I wanted to give one to him as well. He was very moved and embraced me in a hug.
We had been told that we could shake hands, but not hug unless we were approached first, so I was surprised at his show of emotion. He immediately put the bracelet on, and even made it a point to point to it when I was near him later in the evening.
So, now leaders of two different countries each have a HeroBracelet, both bear the name PFC Jason M Meyer and both are cherished.
So...now I need a new one, again. I already miss it. I usually wear it everyday, so I notice the "loss" but I'm proud to have given it.
Thanks for all you do for our troops.