Theodore's World: Bush Signs Veto With Pen From Father of Marine Killed In Iraq

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May 03, 2007

Bush Signs Veto With Pen From Father of Marine Killed In Iraq

Marine's father gives Bush pen, support
Washington Times

It was just a regular, black-inked ballpoint pen that President Bush used to sign his veto yesterday, instead of his usual personalized Cross pen.

The pen was a gift from the father of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq, who asked Mr. Bush last month to use it when he vetoed a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq.

Robert Derga, of Uniontown, Ohio, gave Mr. Bush the pen after an April 16 speech by the president at the White House.

Mr. Bush invited a number of "Gold Star Families" -- families who have lost a U.S. military member in Iraq -- to the speech, and met with them afterwards in the Oval Office. Mr. Derga, 53, had brought the pen with him. It was the pen he had used to write letters to his son, Marine Cpl. Dustin A. Derga.

"It was just a common run of the mill ... I don't even remember the brand name," Mr. Derga said, in a phone interview last night. "It was just a $2 pen. Nothing special."

Mr. Bush met with the Dergas and other families for about 45 minutes, and spoke directly with each family.

"I looked the president square in the eye," Mr. Derga said. "I looked at him and said, 'Mr. President, if this Iraq supplemental comes down to a veto I want you to use my pen to do it."

Mr. Bush "kind of looked at me funny for a moment and then said, 'Absolutely,' and then handed the pen to his assistant," Mr. Derga said.

"He assured me he would use it," Mr. Derga said.

Dustin was killed in Iraq on May 8, 2005, while leading house-to-house searches in Ubaydi, Iraq. He was 24. Dustin was the first Marine killed in Lima Company, with the Marine Force Reserve's 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, out of Columbus, Ohio.

But Lima Company, a group of 160 reservists, suffered the highest casualty rate of any company so far in the Iraq war. They lost 23 Marines during their seven-month deployment in 2005.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Derga was shutting off his computer at work, around 5:30, when he received a call from Jared Weinstein, Mr. Bush's personal aide.

Mr. Weinstein was calling "to tell me that the president had signed the veto with my pen."

"They wanted to again give their heartfelt condolences on our loss of Dustin," Mr. Derga said. "I was pretty blown away is one way of putting it. I couldn't believe he actually did it."

Mr. Derga, a manager for Diebold, Inc., said that it was gratifying to be able to show his support for Mr. Bush and for the war, even if it has not always been easy to support the U.S. mission in Iraq.

"It's been painful for this nation and me personally but I still feel strongly about getting the job done over there and getting it done right," said Mr. Derga. "It meant a lot to us that we were able to make our position known, that we continue to support him."

But Mr. Derga said he is frustrated that many Americans do not believe Iraq is part of the U.S. fight against terrorism.

"I really feel strongly that this nation needs to wake up and understand what's at risk here and what's in the balance," he said.

As for Dustin, his son, Mr. Derga visits his grave in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, about two hours away, every few weeks, he said.

"He had a wonderful smile and a great dimple. He was a great kid. He loved to play baseball. He just loved working with his hands. And he was always interested in military service and public service," Mr. Derga said.

Dustin was a volunteer firefighter and steel worker. He was working toward a degree in EMS and fire science from Columbus State University.

"Probably his smile I miss more than anything," Mr. Derga said. "I think about him every day. I know I'll see him again, so it's just a matter of time."

Mr. Derga said that about 80 percent of the other Gold Star Families he knows agree with the president's decision to send more troops to Iraq to try to stabilize the country.

"We have given the ultimate sacrifice in terms of our sons, and if we can still stand in the trenches with the president and support him, why can't the rest of the nation do it?" Mr. Derga said.

Wild Thing's comment........

This Father is an awesome man and so was his son. Thank you President Bush for doing this and thank you for the Veto.

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
White House
May 2, 2007
Finally, this legislation is unconstitutional because it purports to direct the conduct of the operations of the war in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the Presidency by the Constitution, including as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. For these reasons, I must veto this bill.

“Good evening. Twelve weeks ago, I asked the Congress to pass an emergency war spending bill that would provide our brave men and women in uniform with the funds and flexibility they need. Instead, members of the House and the Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders. So a few minutes ago, I vetoed this bill.”

May 1, 2007.

Posted by Wild Thing at May 3, 2007 12:55 AM


God Bless Our Presidency and Commander in Chief, I stall 100% behind ,what he and our Troops are doing.
Edward Lee McIntosh E4/BT3 USN/USNR, VietNam Veteran.

Posted by: Edward L McIntosh exNavy at May 3, 2007 04:28 AM

That is so wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing.

Posted by: Greta at May 3, 2007 06:33 AM

As a combat veteran of Vietnam, I find it difficult reading the obituaries of fine young men and women killed in Iraq. I wish it weren't so but then again I wish that 9/11 hadn't happened as well. The thing is, we can't have it both ways. Sure as hell the terrorists aren't going to stop their attempts to annihilate non-Muslims and I suspect they're plotting further attacks on OUR soil. The only way to slow them down and stop them is to take it to them and that's what we're doing. God bless all our troops and President Bush for having the stones to be proactive versus rolling over as the weak wristed liberals would have us do.

Posted by: Cpt Dave at May 3, 2007 08:11 AM

Good For BUSH!!!! Now, he needs to shove that pen down Biden's Throat!!!

Posted by: GM Roper at May 3, 2007 08:31 AM

Thank you, Chrissie.

You made my morning.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 3, 2007 08:44 AM

What a wonderfull tribute, signing the veto of this abortion of a spending bill with a commoner's pen owned by the father of a fallen Marine. The unmitigated gall of the Congress trying to undermine, subvert and abrogate the Constitutional power granted to the president during wartime is unconscionable. This is grounds for recall of those Marxists who have violated the terms of their oaths of office. You can bet a repeat of the Vietnam capitulation in Iraq or Afghanistan will welcome an all out attack from the Islamists at home as well as amongst our allies. Look about and see what appeasement has brought to Israel, Lebanon, France and the Netherlands. Look at what UN intervention has brought to Palestine, Lebanon, Korea and the Sudan, that is a mirror image of what we'll look like.

Posted by: Jack at May 3, 2007 09:21 AM

I second what GM Roper said.

Posted by: raz0r at May 3, 2007 11:33 AM

I am so glad Bush stood up to Congress. Congress does not have the numbers to override the veto, so maybe this will take some of the wind out of their shit stained sails. I don't watch the MSM anymore, so I don't know how the news is reporting on this. Maybe the veto will also encourage the Iraqis.

Posted by: TomR at May 3, 2007 11:40 AM

Razor, Tom and Jack, nice seeing you here. Although GW is on my shit list mainly over illegal immigration and our open borders, I must say what he did with that pen was an outstanding tribute to a fallen warrior.

HOOAH and Army rocks

And we love Chrissie, she's the best

Posted by: cuchieddie at May 3, 2007 09:16 PM

Thank you all so much for reading this, it means a lot to me. I was so touched by it and wanted to share it with all of you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 3, 2007 11:45 PM

Well thanks for posting it.Say tonight my Wife
and I were having a little ice cream when this
young girl with a new baby came in and right
behind her was her husband in BDU's to say he
was young would be and under statement.I thought
for a min.and said to my wife I'm going to buy
what ever they have.I told the counter girl and
she said their family so they get a discount,so,
let me know and ill take care of make this
a little shorter He came over and shook my hand
and I told him thank you for all you do and told
him come back for your son!!I gave him a twenty
and we left with a warm feeling and a little
bit of water in one eye,must have been the dust...

Posted by: Tincan Sailor at May 4, 2007 12:11 AM

Tincan Sailor, that is so wonderful. I love hearing stories like that. Thank you for sharing about it.


Posted by: Wild Thing at May 4, 2007 01:04 AM

God Bless our President and our troops.
I will not surrender to:
Iraqi or Agaganistan terriorists,
North Korea,
French Communists,
Illegal Aliens,
or Harry Reid + Pelosi + George Soros!!!!!

Find a way to WEAR your message!!!

Posted by: J Yarbrough at May 4, 2007 10:33 AM