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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 07:44 AM
Original message
Obama Pens Personal Notes to Fallen Troops' Families
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.

"This was real, it was personal, it was so important to us," said Thya Merz, whose son Marine Lance Cpl. Julian Brennan was killed Jan. 24 in Afghanistan.

The letter was signed "Barack," Ms. Merz told The Washington Times.

"Not 'president,' just his first name, and it just felt like, OK, my son has been acknowledged," she said.

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.

The president told NBC News that the duty falls to him, though he did not initiate the wars and opposed the invasion of Iraq. In those moments of signing the letters, he said, "you realize every decision you make counts."

The White House declined to release any of the private letters or the names of families who received them, but The Times spoke with some who shared the contents of their letters.

more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/17/obama-p...
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 07:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is called leadership & class
I am so proud to call him my President.
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xultar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
2. I am trying to find samples of what little boots sent, anyone know of any?
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. I remember a story that the letters started with a generic
greeting and they were very impersonal. I'll see if I can find it. I am sure someone here has it at the ready.

I also remember an uproar about rummy stamping his letters.
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:13 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. From the ARMY, not chimpy: Army Apologizes For "John Doe" Letters
(AP) The U.S. Army said Wednesday that 7,000 family members of soldiers killed in the Iraq or Afghan wars mistakenly were sent letters addressing them as "John Doe."

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., was sending a personal letter to all the families who received the improperly addressed letters as the result of a printing error, the Army said.

The 7,000 original letters were sent late last month to inform survivors about private organizations that offer gifts, programs and other assistance to families that have lost soldiers in Iraq or other countries where they are deployed for the war on terrorism.

It was sent from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command's Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Center, which issued a formal apology Wednesday.

The letters, which were printed by a contractor, were to have been automatically addressed with the specific names and addresses of survivors, said Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman. Instead, they contained the placeholder greeting - "Dear John Doe."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/07/national/main...
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PA Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Rumsfeld was using an "autopen" to sign letters to families
and it caused a big stink when families complained about the callousness of using a mechanical signature.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10891-20...
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xultar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Thank you. I remember that. I posted it in the comments over @ WT because the RW nuts
were saying that President Obama was advertising his dealings with fallen troops families.

OK, back to my self imposed exile.


Oh and thank whomever for my beautiful heart. It means alot.
X
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. That is a traditon, actually. Sec. of War's office had one. My mother worked there and...
Edited on Tue Feb-17-09 08:27 AM by Captain Hilts
the room with that machine was the most secret in the office. No doubt it got a lot of use through the decades.

But, the rate of casualties in this war being slow enough to make the notes more personal, it's rather callous.
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Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. Rummy was a cold hearted bastard.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. Yes, he did in some cases I am told.
Edited on Tue Feb-17-09 08:23 AM by Captain Hilts
Kudos to Obama, but he's not alone in this.

Again, as much as I opposed and oppose the war in Iraq and disapprove strongly of GWB, I have to say that he did meet with families, etc. and visit wounded troops on several occasions, as did Mrs. Bush. My friends at Bethesda Naval have told me this.

His ability to disassociate himself or his being that detached from reality from his policy enough to do so is very troubling to me me.
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Jackeens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
3. Signed "Barack" - how classy is that? n/t (Thank you for posting this)
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Clio the Leo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
13. Yep, now I have official justification for calling him that.
"Obama" just doesn't quite do it for me. (to each their own of course)
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panader0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 07:58 AM
Response to Original message
4. Infinately classier than bush
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
9. I'm hoping these letters are contributing to his pause concerning
Afghanistan. And I agree with others here: this is not only classy, but humane and (sounds like) heartfelt.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
10. Bubba did so as did the Roosevelts.
The most famous occasion, of course, was the case of the Sullivan brothers. Their parents got a handwritten note from FDR and from ER.
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Clio the Leo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
14. Bush should be personally writing these families to apologize...
.... and he has SIGNIFICANTLY more free time than Barack does these days.
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firedupdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
15. Very Good...These people deserve respect and a personal
note is a good step in that direction. I hope he gets us the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I wish that could happen like tomorrow. President Obama is a class act.
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CTyankee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-17-09 12:44 PM
Response to Original message
17. My heart goes out to Barack.
It must be horrifically difficult to write to these family members.

Our president is beloved for so many reasons...
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