This is Deborah's account of the meeting, published here with her kind permission.
After a final hug and handshake with the Johnsons, President Bush stepped in front of us. Dave introduced himself and spoke about Patrick as he locked a handshake, after which the President looked straight into my eyes, asked how I was doing, then gave me, as he had the other moms, a bear hug and kiss on the side of the face.
I held in my hands Patrick’s green military issued notebook. The one he had written briefing notes inside, the one he left a 3 page letter in for his family in case he was killed. ( ... )
“This is the book our son wrote in while in Iraq, and this is the letter he left for us in the event of his death.
"Mr. President, our son believed in the Iraqi people, in this letter he states that he hopes the Iraqi people will someday experience the same freedoms that he was blessed to experience, that it was an honor to live, fight and die with an American Flag on his shoulder. He tells how he cried for the children because he didn’t have food and water for them. He said they were worth the fight.”
I soon saw President Bush fighting back thick puddles of tears. With his hands entwined behind him, he straightened his shoulders as though to re-compose himself.
As my voice began to break and tears moistened my cheeks, I pointed to the last words printed in red on the page, Love, your son, Patrick, and said,
“Mr. President, would you please write a note to Patrick. Tell him you won’t let him down.”
I then handed the book and a pen to President Bush and he wrote:
Patrick, thank you for your courage. I won’t let you down.
George W. Bush.
Read the rest.
God bless you, Deborah and Dave. Godspeed, Sgt. Tainsh.