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Bush on Saturday consoled families of local soldiers lost in Iraq
The Repository (Canton, Ohio) ^ | Tuesday, August 3, 2004 | ED BALINT Repository staff writer

Posted on 08/03/2004 4:00:36 AM PDT by ResistorSister

CANTON -- Julie Barkey waited for a sign from her late son, Michael Barkey, a soldier who died in Iraq last month.

Last week, she had a conversation with Michael as if he were still alive.

“I said, ‘Mikey, I need a sign from you. I just want a sign that you’re OK in heaven.’ ”

“If I could just shake the president’s hand,” Barkey recalled saying, “I would take that as a sign.”

Barkey got that sign.

After his address at the Memorial Civic Center on Saturday, President George W. Bush met privately with Barkey and two other local families who lost sons to the war.

“That meant to me that heaven is even better than we think it is,” Barkey said. “I think that was kind of his sign to me he is OK. And he just didn’t get me a handshake, but a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and so much more than I asked for.”

She was touched by the president’s gesture. Her son died in a truck accident in Ar Ramadi, about 60 miles west of Baghdad.

“He had tears in his eyes,” Barkey said of the president. “He seemed very down-to-earth, very compassionate, very warm, everything I thought he would be. I’ve had a lot of respect for him over the years, and his courage to stand for the unborn and for the downtrodden and help the people of Iraq.”

“He said our sons did not die in vain and that he appreciated their sacrifice,” she said.

Michael Barkey’s brother, Tony, and sister, Therese, also met the president.

Bush also spoke with Jerry and Julie Ramey, whose son, Richard, died in February when he tried to defuse a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, and with Steve and Peggy Buryj, whose son, Jesse, died in May while serving in Iraq. Ramey’s daughter, Sarah, also met the president.

The Rameys could not be reached for comment Monday.

Hal Barkey, Michael’s father, expressed his support for the war effort.

“He expressed his sympathy to us,” he said. “I think it was very heartfelt. I saw tears in his eyes. We talked about the war, and we both believe it is a just war. We’d like to let these people have the opportunity to have a democracy and see how it works, and hopefully change things in the Middle East.”

The visit with the president lasted about 15 to 20 minutes.

“He could have had some reporters there, but he didn’t,” Hal Barkey said. “It was a private affair, and no one else was allowed in there. I think that says a lot about him and the man he is.

“I think he’s genuine. I think he sticks to what he believes, and I see some real good there.”

Peggy Buryj said she was honored to meet the president.

“I was very nervous,” she said. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do, throw up on his shoes or something?’ He just seemed very real to me, very sincere. I cried on his shoulder, and he cried on mine.”

She also asked President Bush for more information about her son’s death in Iraq. Buryj said she has received conflicting information.

“He said, ‘Sometimes it just takes a call from a president,’ ” Buryj said. “He had one of his assistants come over and get all the information.”

Buryj, a registered Democrat, said she will vote for President Bush in the November election. She also voted for him in 2000.

“People think I should dislike him because of the war,” she said. “My son was a soldier, and he wanted to be a police officer. It would be like me getting mad at the chief of police for sending him into a dangerous situation.”

Each family received a presidential medallion. One side reads, “Seal of the President of the United States.” The other side reads, “George W. Bush Commander-in-Chief,” encircling an image of the White House.

Buryj said her son loved to collect coins from the Pentagon — where he once worked — and the military.

“Army guys want those coins,” Buryj said, laughing. “They’ll do anything to get those coins.”

President Bush dug into his pocket and pulled three out.

“I said out loud to my son, ‘Jesse, I got a bigger coin than you.’ ”

You can reach Repository writer Ed Balint at (330) 580-8315 or e-mail:

ed.balint@cantonrep.com


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Ohio; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bush; compassionate; downtoearth; fallen; heartfelt; militaryfamilies
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To: TruthNtegrity

Thanks for the flag, friend.
Bush is truly a gift from above for this nation.


41 posted on 08/03/2004 12:33:11 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Never again trust Democrats with national security!)
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Dubya is the real deal!


42 posted on 08/03/2004 12:34:47 PM PDT by GeorgiaYankee (Now Playing -- John Kerry: The Frenchurian Candidate!)
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To: TruthNtegrity
Thank you, dear Truthy, for the ping!

I cried on his shoulder, and he cried on mine.

That sentence encapsulated what our beloved President is really all about; spreading the Love and the Comfort of our Blessed Savior to others. God bless him!

Thank You, O God our Merciful Master, for granting this good man to be our President! We praise You, our Great King, for Your Lovingkindness, Your Compassion for us, and for Your GRACE! Amen!

43 posted on 08/03/2004 1:25:22 PM PDT by Kitty Mittens
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To: TruthNtegrity

Thanks for the ping.

"The real great man is the man who makes every man feel great."
—G.K. Chesterton


44 posted on 08/03/2004 1:29:16 PM PDT by theophilusscribe ("America is too great for small dreams." óRonald Wilson Reagan)
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To: TruthNtegrity

Thanks for the ping


45 posted on 08/03/2004 2:29:21 PM PDT by firewalk
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl

Bump!


46 posted on 08/03/2004 2:46:30 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: potlatch; devolve; onyx; Happy2BMe; PhilDragoo; MeekOneGOP

PING!


47 posted on 08/03/2004 3:02:59 PM PDT by ntnychik
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To: Kitty Mittens
Amen and AMEN


48 posted on 08/03/2004 3:24:33 PM PDT by TruthNtegrity (We must all work hard to insure Pres. Bush's re-election by a landslide!)
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To: ResistorSister

Good Story Bump


49 posted on 08/03/2004 3:43:24 PM PDT by ResistorSister (The Dems are being given enough rope to hang themselves.)
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To: TruthNtegrity

Thanks for the ping- I love President Bush. :)


50 posted on 08/03/2004 4:13:04 PM PDT by lawgirl (is RNC bound! W here I come!)
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To: theophilusscribe
"The real great man is the man who makes every man feel great."
—G.K. Chesterton


I just had to repeat and bold for emphasis.
I still can't believe that I got through a bachelor's degree and an advanced degree
without ever hearing the name "Chesterton".

OK, blame it on my being in fly-over country and of the Protestant persuasion:-)
51 posted on 08/03/2004 4:18:24 PM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
in fly-over country and of the Protestant persuasion

I'm right there with you! :o)

52 posted on 08/03/2004 4:36:07 PM PDT by theophilusscribe ("America is too great for small dreams." óRonald Wilson Reagan)
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To: TruthNtegrity
President Bush dug into his pocket and pulled three out.

“I said out loud to my son, ‘Jesse, I got a bigger coin than you.’ ”

Many tears

Thank you for the Ping Truthy

53 posted on 08/03/2004 4:51:44 PM PDT by Mo1 (Kerry & Edwards .... they will leave no Special Interest Group behind)
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To: Kitty Mittens

A P.S. to your prayer KM - - "Lord, if it be Your will, please let us have this man as President for 4 more years."

Amen and Amen!!


54 posted on 08/03/2004 5:24:02 PM PDT by duckbutt ( Warning: Dates in calendar are closer than they appear)
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To: duckbutt

Lord, I'm sending up a dittos to duckbutt's prayer. Thank you for remembering us in our destress and deliver us from impending evil. In Christ's name. Amen


55 posted on 08/03/2004 5:30:53 PM PDT by WVNan
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To: ResistorSister

West Coast Bump


56 posted on 08/03/2004 6:12:41 PM PDT by ResistorSister (The Dems are being given enough rope to hang themselves.)
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To: ResistorSister

The picture is making me cry. I remember my father's last hug!!


57 posted on 08/03/2004 6:56:10 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: ntnychik

Thank you for this ping!


58 posted on 08/03/2004 7:06:57 PM PDT by Happy2BMe (JOHN KERRY is as much like the WORKING MAN as WHOOPIE GOLDBERG is to GEORGE W. BUSH! - Vote BUSH!)
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To: ntnychik

Thanks for the ping ntnychik, this is a lovely story and shows why we love the President!!


59 posted on 08/03/2004 8:02:14 PM PDT by potlatch (Sometimes I think I understand everything, then I regain consciousness.)
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To: duckbutt
Lord, if it be Your will, please let us have this man as President for 4 more years.

Amen, my Freeper Friend, Amen!

(That is a cute screen name you have!) :)

60 posted on 08/03/2004 11:04:55 PM PDT by Kitty Mittens
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