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On February 13, 2004, I lost my son


President George W. Bush

1700 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC

Re: Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, U.S. Army Reserves, Deceased

Mr. President,

On February 13, 2004, I lost my son, Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, U.S. Army Reserves, while he was on active duty preparing for deployment to Iraq. Jeremy was killed on Highway 36, just outside of Gatesville, TX on the way back to Ft. Hood after renting a car so he and his buddies could have one last night out on the town before their departure to Iraq five days later. Jeremy was not killed in action, but he died a hero just the same, a hero formed from the standards of the United States Army that helped to shape him. On the way back to the base, Jeremy attempted to pass a car in order to get ahead of it. Too late, he saw a truck coming from the opposite direction. Jeremy could not get back into his lane without causing an accident. So, he drove off the road and straight into a stand of trees going 80 mph. The location of my son’s death is about 27 miles from your ranch, where you are currently vacationing.

Jeremy chose not to harm another person because of a stupid mistake he made. He paid the price of that mistake with his life. It’s too bad Jeremy’s Commander in Chief doesn’t have even close the amount of honor my son had. Jeremy was promoted to Sergeant posthumously and at his funeral I was presented with an Army Commendation Award and Medal for heroism and bravery. You, on the other hand, have absolutely no idea what honor and bravery are.

I want to take a few minutes and tell you about Jeremy and how his loss has affected my family.

First of all, Jeremy was my first-born child and only son. When he died, Jeremy was only 22 years old. He left behind two younger sisters, Danielle and Jaime, who loved their brother with all their hearts and who, to this day, are heartbroken with the knowledge they will never see their big brother again. This past week Jaime gave birth to a beautiful little baby boy that she named after her big brother to honor him. My grandson, Aiden, will never know his Uncle Jeremy, who would have been thrilled to be an Uncle. My son loved his family and was very protective of his sisters and me.

Jeremy had big, dark eyes and a strange sense of humor. He was quick to laugh, but hid his smile in a shy kind of way that was endearing to all who loved him. Before being called to active duty, Jeremy was a good student at ITT in Houston, TX, where he was studying computer science. He left behind two computers he had built at home by himself that he used to run an internet server. He had techie friends from all across the globe who still mourn his loss.

Jeremy will never marry and he will never have children of his own that I can bounce on me knee, a proud Grandma. I will never again hear his laugh, caress his face or hug him. Day after day I imagine Jeremy walking through my back door, calling out “Mother, I’m home!

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