I have a friend named Sherri. Sherri is very small. Her husband of almost two years, 1st Lt. Patrick Francescon, is very big.
He's Marine big-- the kind of big that undoubtedly makes Sherri feel safe walking down the street even when Patrick is on the other side of world, which is where he is right now. He's near the Iraqi border with Syria, participating in operations with names as tough as he is-- Iron Fist and Steel Curtain.
But no matter how big and strong and brave Patrick is-- and he is; just ask Sherri!-- he can't tell the American people and the American press how he feels about his mission in Iraq. He's rather busy.
That's where Sherri comes in. She gets to talk to Patrick every couple of weeks, never for long enough, but long enough to hear about progress in Iraq-- towns cleared of terrorists, schools rebuilt, and Iraqis campaigning to elect a democratic government for the first time ever. She also hears that Patrick believes deeply in his work and in the need to finish it.
She tells everyone she can about what Patrick's doing and how he feels about it, so that folks on the homefront will know that men like him are behind President Bush. She's her own little counter to the liberal media, which I'm sure makes Patrick as proud of her as she is of him.
This week, she wrote to tell me she got to take her message straight to the top. I'm reprinting her email with permission:
I have some exciting news to tell youâ€¦ Yesterday, I went to the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center here in DC and saw President Bush speak on the Iraq War.
After he spoke he greeted people in the audience. When he came near me I said, "President Bush my husband is in Iraq." He immediately made eye contact with me and came over to me.
I had a picture of Patrick in my hand and I said, "Here is my husband." He got a funny expression on his face, and I looked at my hand holding Patrick's picture and noticed that his picture was backwards (I was showing President Bush the back of the picture that was blank).
I instantly turned the picture around and President Bush took it out of my hand and looked at it. Then he turned it over and took a Sharpie out of his suit jacket and asked, "What is your husbandâ€™s name?" I shouted out, "1st Lt Francescon!"
He smiled then asked, "What is his first name?" Completely embarrassed I said, "Oh, Patrick." As President Bush was signing the back of Patrick's picture, I thought to myselfâ€¦"Okay, here is my chance to tell the President that Patrick is honored to call him Commander-in-Chief."
But those words didnâ€™t come out of my mouth. I instead said, (and I know that Patrick would have not said this, and is going to be humiliated when I tell him I said this) "President Bush my husband loves to serve for you! He loves you!"
It was a little over the top, I knowâ€¦I was just so nervous and excited that I became another personâ€¦I don't know who she was...oh, well!
After President Bush wrote "Patrick, thank you and God bless! --George Bush" on the back of Patrickâ€™s picture, President Bush then gave me a big hug and then KISSED me on my forehead and said, "Sweetie, everything is going to be alright."
I told him thank you and asked him if I could get my picture taken with him. He complied and you will find this picture attached to this email along with a couple of others.
Thank you for letting me share my exciting news with you. And thank you President Bush!
God bless Sherri and Patrick, both. She hasn't talked to Patrick yet this week, but she can't wait to hear about the voting in Iraq.
Even if it didn't inspire the naysayers back home, Sherri wants everyone to remember that it does inspire Patrick.