By now, you know about Senior Airman Ashley Jackson. You may also remember that she was inside one of our MRAPS when it was attacked by an IED. You may also remember she was awarded a Purple Heart a few days ago.
Today, she was thanked again for her service, this time, by the President himself.
Jackson received a personal phone call from President Barack Obama, wishing her a happy Thanksgiving and thanking her for her service. I, and other members of our team, were crowded around her in the room as she spoke with him on the phone.
For the first part of her conversation, it was just us listening to her talk, since we couldn’t hear what the president was saying (since she was holding the handset to her ear.)
But, half-way through the conversation, Jackson asked him, “Sir, it would mean a lot to me if I could put you on speakerphone so the rest of the people in the room can hear from you. Can I put you on speakerphone?”
Of course, the President obliged, and he talked to all of us. He told us he didn’t take us for granted, and he knows that we’re sacrificing a lot during the holidays while here in the ‘stan.
Although he didn’t know my name (or the names of anyone else in the room other than Jackson, specifically,) it was the closest I’ve gotten to having a conversation with him … I only got to say four words: “Happy Thanksgiving, Mr. President.”
I kind of felt like justice was served, as Muna and I were two of the Purple Ticket holders who were formally invited to the inauguration back in January, but were denied access. (I’ll write another post about that fiasco later.) But today, I finally got as close to Obama as I may ever get.
Receiving a personal phone call from the President of the United States is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am so lucky and thankful that Senior Airman Jackson was kind enough to share her special moment with all of us by putting him on speakerphone. By doing so, she turned Thanksgiving into a great day for all of us.
My sincerest thanks to you, Senior Airman Ashley Jackson, and your family (for raising such a class act.)
While in the ‘stan, I am thankful to have you on our team.