Thursday, June 30, 2005

You'll need Kleenex for this one.

This is the story of Crystal Owen, widow of Staff Sgt. Michael Owen, KIA, Iraq.
Owen was last in line to meet the president, so she chatted with the others to pass the time. Officials had set up rooms for the meetings that looked like lounges.

At 6 p.m., it was Owen's turn. She was nervous. A Secret Service agent entered the room where she waited, startling her. He told her to sit down, that the president would be in shortly.

And then there he was, George W. Bush. He came in, gave her a big hug and sat down with her.

She showed him a picture of her husband and talked about his job. It was an easy-going conversation. A White House photographer took their picture. She gave the president a present - a stainless steel bracelet with two names engraved on it.

I would like you to wear it tonight during your speech, she told the president. He said he had received such gifts in the past, but no one had ever asked him to wear them.

He put it on right there.
Mrs. Owen wrote a letter to the president after her husband died.
She asked him to see the fight to the finish, to accomplish the mission so her husband's death would not be in vain.

On Tuesday, the president told Owen and the nation he intended to do just that.

The bracelet Owen gave to the president was engraved with the names of her husband and Santos. It listed their unit and the date they were killed.

Owen couldn't tell if it was the bracelet or the president's watch she saw shining during his speech. She knew he wore it though. The president told her he would be honored.

Only one thing made Tuesday less than perfect, Owen said: "The one person that this would mean the most to isn't here to hear the story."

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