Bush surrounds himself with people in uniform. He shows genuine grief for the fallen and sympathy for their families, and praises those who have paid the "ultimate price for our security and freedom".
Yet, here’s the price, literally, that the soldiers pay:
His hand had been blown off in Iraq, his body pierced by shrapnel. He could not walk. Robert Loria was flown home for a long recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he tried to bear up against intense physical pain and reimagine his life’s possibilities.
The last thing on his mind, he said, was whether the Army had correctly adjusted his pay rate — downgrading it because he was out of the war zone — or whether his combat gear had been accounted for properly: his Kevlar helmet, his suspenders, his rucksack.
But nine months after Loria was wounded, the Army garnished his wages and then, as he prepared to leave the service, hit him with a $6,200 debt. That was just before last Christmas, and several lawmakers scrambled to help. This spring, a collection agency started calling. He owed another $646 for military housing.
"I was shocked," recalled Loria, now 28 and medically retired from the Army. "After everything that went on, they still had the nerve to ask me for money