A meeting at The White House.
We arrived at the visitors gate of the White House about 1:40 and they actually opened it early. We went through Security and they took all the gifts everyone had brought for the President. We brought a plastic canvas piece that said "GOD BLESS the USA 1-14-09" on it as well as a bookmark for Mrs. Bush and a "HERO JASON" button/pin. We also gave him pictures of all 3 boys.
We entered through the visitors entrance and checked our coats about 2:10...right on time! We were allowed to go into several of the rooms that MOST visitors only get to look at, since they're roped off! The "Ladies Room" was in the Vermeille Room (it looked yellow to me!) and the "Mens Room" was in the Library. Since I was on myGo-go Scooter, I got to ride upstairs in the Presidential Elevator!! My dh & son went up the stairs. Everyone was kind of wandering around the second floor rooms, wondering what was next. We looked out the window toward DC and noticed the White House dogs on the South lawn. I asked an aide what the schedule for the afternoon would be and was told that we would be taken into the State Room for President Bush to make remarks and then we would be taken in to our meetings with him, followed by the reception.
About 2:45 the doors opened and we all found our seats. We were seated on the main aixle, since I was on the scooter. B few minutes later, in walked Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice. I turned around and saw Vice President Dick Cheney, followed by Laura Bush and then the Man himself. The President gave brief remarks, beginning with an apology that we all had to meet together instead of each meeting him seperately...he said he's out of time!
All too soon the remarks were over. He and Mrs. Bush walked up the aisle, stopping to shake hands with some of us. We shook Laura's hand and spoke to her briefly. Then, we were approached by the aide we had spoken to about the schedule. She took us near the front of the line. Our cameras were taken away, since the "Official White House Photographer" would take our picture.
We actually spent about 15 minutes talking with him. When we went in, he greeted Chris with a handshake, then me with a kiss ont he cheek. I told him that the last time I got a kiss from him it was on the lips...so he gave me a quick smooch on the lips, then turned to Loren & said "now don't get jealous" and then he greeted Loren and told him how sorry he was for Jason's death. He's just a common man. We told him about Jason and how he didn't have to be in Iraq, but CHOSE to go...he reinjured his knee just 2-3 weeks before they left. He spoke to Chris about his job and where he's stationed. We talked about Jon and how he couldn't be with us. He gave each of us a "Presidential Challenge Coin" and also one for Jon.
We talked about his reading program and also Laura's passion for reading. He gave us some bookmarks to give to a set of triplets that live near us. They are all disabled and I had told him, from their mother, that she feels it was because of the programs that he put in place that they were able to graduate from High School.
Like I said, we spoke to him for about 15 minutes and then it was time for the photo and reception. Just before we left him, I touched his cheek and said, "You look very tired...It's time, isn; it?" He agreed that it is time for him to be done. He said he IS tired and is looking forward to some time off. Loren asked him about a job at the ranch...he said he hasn't even thought that far ahead, but assured him that things will get better.
After we left him, we went out to the main ballroom area and into the recpetion area. In one room, there was a table set up with every kind of hors d'eurve you could want as well as many little mini desserts. They also had glasses of white wine, sparkling water and soft drinks.
We also had the chance to speak with and have our pictures taken with Sec. Rice, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, ADM Mike Mullen. The two Military people wanted pictures alone with Chris, too. Sec. Gates gave him his card and told him if he ever needed anything to call and said it was kind of like a "Get out of jail free" card, since usually just pulling it out of the wallet and asking if he needed to make the call would resolve ANY situation! ADM Mullen told us he will look into Jason's records. We haven't been able to gat ANY info and we are told the records are "missing" or not available whenever we've tried to get his medals or anything. We may FINALLY have some answers.
About 5:00 we finally decided we had spoken to everyone and we were getting tired, so we decided it was time to go. Once again I went down in the Presidential elevator. We took a few more pictures and left...an afternoon we will never forget. We can rest easy, knowing our President has finally heard Jason's story. Our time with him was special. We wouldn't have missed this opportunity for anything.
Deb Meyer, Military Mom-'til They All Come Home
Blue Star MOM of: SPC Jonathon Meyer, OIF Veteran, US Army
LCPL Christopher Meyer, USMC
Gold Star step-mom of PFC Jason Meyer, OIF, deployed to heaven 4/8/03
Since our cameras were taken away, we don't have any photos of us with the President. I'll scan and send those as soon as they arrive in the ma