A Note Personally Penned, Then Signed “Barack.” Priceless
TIME Magazine this week reported on the somber decisions facing the new President when it comes to Afghanistan.
President Obama has already ordered two more U.S. Combat brigades into Afghanistan, and may have to send more of our troops.
As he announced the troop movements, Obama said:
“There is no more solemn duty as President than the decision to deploy our armed forces into harm’s way.”
In reporting this somber news, TIME writes:
The President has been writing a letter to the family of each soldier killed in Afghanistan (and Iraq), personally signing it BARACK. So far, those casualties could be attributed to choices his predecessor–not Obama–made about the risks to take with young lives. No more. They’re on his watch now.
In “Obama signs ‘Barack’ to fallen troops’ kin” the Washington Times expands on this as follows:
Handwrites each, signs ‘Barack’
In his first few weeks in office, sometime between celebratory bill signings and phone calls from foreign leaders, President Obama sat in the Oval Office for the most somber task of his presidency – penning letters to families of troops killed in combat.
Mr. Obama personalizes each letter, asking staffers to gather details about the service member, such as their hometown and where they were stationed, a White House aide said. The letters are sent to parents and spouses, and sometimes children of the fallen troops.
The president writes the notes by hand, then the letters are typed before he adds his signature.
Mr. Obama wrote the first few letters for troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan while George W. Bush was president, and has written at least a dozen more since taking office.
President Bush also sent personal letters to the families of the more than 4,000 troops who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It is good to hear that both these gentlemen take this somber and momentous task serious and personal, in view of past embarrassments and lack of decorum.
Just recently, we learned in horror that the Army had mistakenly sent letters addressed “Dear John Doe” to 7,000 family members of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And how can we forget the revelation in December 2004, that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had not been personally signing condolence letters sent to families of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but had been using “mechanical signatures.”
In response to heavy criticism, the Secretary said: “While I have not individually signed each one, in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact with grieving family members, I have directed that in the future I sign each letter.”
Things have improved quite a bit since then.
Thank you Messrs. Bush and Obama, our fallen heroes deserve nothing less.
Image: Courtesy guardian.co.uk