A HeroBracelet for President Bush
We heard from Deb Meyer recently. Her son, PFC Jason Meyer was killed in Baghdad on April 8, 2003. She had been wearing a HeroBracelet in his name since and recently had an opportunity to meet with President Bush and gave her HeroBracelet to him. We've sent her a new pair of HeroBracelets and I asked her if she could tell us a little about her son and her meeting with President Bush. This is what she sent in today.
"Here's the story of my HeroBracelet:
Many months ago, a friend sent me a link to the HeroBracelet site. We shared a common loss...both of us had lost a loved one in Iraq. My husband and I lost his son, PFC Jason M Meyer on 8 APR 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq to a "friendly fire" incident. I ordered a bracelet in his name. I wore it daily, taking it off only to shower, from the time I got it until today, 23 FEB 2006.
Why was today so special? Our Congressman, Chris Chocola was having a fund raiser in Mishawaka, IN, about 5 miles from our home in South Bend. President Bush was to be a speaker at the event and we were invited as Congressman Chocola's guests. My husband was unable to get the day off work. He works for a local company making wall board for RV's and mobile homes. They have been working a LOT of over-time since hurricane Katrina, filling FEMA orders. I attended the event, along with my 17 year old son, Christopher.
You may be wondering why all of this is so important and what makes our story different. About 6 months after Jason was killed, Jason's oldest step-brother, Jonathon joined the IN National Guard on the delayed entry program. When he finished his Basic Training, he decided to activate and he joined the regular Army. Today, he is PFC Jonathon Meyer and is stationed at Fort Hood, TX. His unit will deploy to Iraq later this year.
My son Christopher is a Sr. in High School this year and has been active with the Marine Corps Junior ROTC program since his freshman year. He was anxious to attend the luncheon for the chance to be in the same room with his "Commander in Chief" and Congressman Chocola, a friend we have come to know over the past (nearly) 3 years since Jason's death. Christopher recently enlisted in the US Marine Corps and will go to Basic Training this summer, after his graduation from High School.
Ever since Jason's death, we have wanted the opportunity to meet President Bush, but have never had the chance. We've been in attendance at several functions for the President, but have never had the opportunity to actually meet with him. As soon as it was announced the the President would be in town to support our Congressman, I placed a call to his office to see if we could finally get the chance for a meeting. Unfortunately, there had already been over 1000 other requests, and we were told that, once again, it wouldn't be possible for a personal meeting with him. When we were asked to attend the luncheon as guests, we jumped at the chance.
As is his custom, after he speaks, the President goes to the "rope line" to shake hands and sign autographs. Twice, just before he has gotten to us in the line, the Secret Service have "whisked him away" and the opportunity to shake his hand has been lost.
Today was different.
As I said, I've worn my HeroBracelet with pride every day. I'm not sure why, but today I removed the bracelet and gave it to Congressman Chocola and asked him to give it to the President. It was beginning to look like he would, once again, be whisked off and the opportunity would be lost. However, as I said, today was different. Christopher was in his Dress Blue uniform and I was wearing my "Gold Star Family Member" shirt. The President noticed Christopher and reached out to shake his hand. Then, he reached out to shake mine. As I was thanking him for the job he's done as our President and telling him the Christopher is "Number 3 in the line of Meyer servicemen" he surprised me by saying that MINE is the tough job. He held both my hands and leaned over. I though I was going to get a hug, but he gave me a kiss and told ME thank you for my sons and their service. It was only a brief encounter, but it meant the world.
About 10 minutes later, Congressman Chocola told me that he had given the bracelet to President Bush, that he said thank you very much, and that he HAD put it on. He said it really meant a lot. It's still our dream for my husband and myself to sit down with the President, and to tell him about Jason. We want him to know that he has had our support and will continue to have it as long as he's in office. He has an enormous responsibility. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. It weighs heavily on his heart every time he has to put pen to paper and write a condolence for a fallen soldier.
We may never have the chance to meet with him one-on-one, but we know that Jason's name will be with him. Even if he doesn't wear the bracelet, he has it. It meant something to him that I would give it up. It was important to me for him to have it. I will remember today for the rest of my life. Christopher will remember it, too. It isn't every day that a young recruit gets to shake the hand of the Commander in Chief of this great nation. e took the time to thank us both. What a humbling feeling it is, the the President of the United States would stop to say "Thanks, mom...YOU have the tough job."
We at HeroBracelets wish the best to the Meyer fami