I don’t know if you saw it, but there was a very moving letter to the editor yesterday in The Oklahoman from a Mr. Eric Engh of Norman. He wrote:
“After President Bush had spoken to a convention I attended recently, he started shaking hands. As he passed by I was unable to reach his hand so I blurted out, ‘You sent my son to war twice, Mr. President.’ He stopped, came back, sought my hand and made serious eye contact with me. He said, ‘Did he come back alive?’ I said, ‘He did. I just wanted to thank you for being an unwavering commander in chief.’ He said, ‘God bless you and your family.’
“I realize now he could have ignored me, and for that brief moment, I added a heavy burden to the man. He could have walked away but didn't. You could see the concern in his eyes and on his face. Two of the three answers I could have given him would have been bitter. I could have lost my son, been a misguided protester or a person happy that my son had honorably served his country and returned safely.
“I wanted Bush to know about the sailor he had sent to war. I doubt if it will make a difference to many of the stone throwers in this country, but I had a unique glimpse into the soul of our president and all I can say is God bless you, Mr. President!”
This letter struck me because it called to mind an encounter I had in which I could palpably sense Mr. Bush’s heavy burden. I’m pretty sure none of us knows what it’s like to have this kind of weight on our shoulders.