Spc. David Saucier will remember Tuesday.
So will his dad, David Levesque, of Lewiston.
They not only met the president of the United States, they saw George W. Bush present Saucier of Sabattus with a purple heart.
Saucier, 22, a gunner on an Army Humvee, was injured on June 3 when a roadside bomb exploded as he was protecting a convoy in northern Iraq. He is a member of Charlie Co. of the 133rd Engineering Battalion of the Maine Army National Guard and a 2004 graduate of Oak Hill High School in Wales. He has been at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington after being evacuated from the war-torn nation.
On Monday, Levesque said he was visiting with his son when a colonel came by and mentioned that Bush was expected to visit wounded soldiers being cared for at Walter Reed on Tuesday. Levesque said he mentioned to the colonel that Saucier hadn’t received his purple heart, a medal that honors wounded American soldiers.
“I asked him if he thought the president might present the medal,” said Levesque by telephone from Washington. “He said he didn’t know, but it might happen.”
There was no might about it.
With his dad beaming nearby, Bush strolled into the hospital room, chatted with Saucier for a few minutes and presented him with his Purple Heart.
“It was a very awesome feeling,” Levesque said.
And it got better.
“Then he called me over to stand with him and David and they took pictures,” said Levesque.
He said the president wished them both well, and thanked Saucier for his service and sacrifice for the nation.
Levesque, who is staying in Washington to help with his son’s rehabilitation, said Saucier is slowly improving from his shrapnel wounds, but likely will never fully recover. On Tuesday, he wasn’t feeling great until Bush arrived. The soldier had undergone wound-cleaning surgery a day earlier, Levesque noted.
Saucier suffered his wounds only 20 days shy of completing his tour of duty. He had been expected to be home by now.
“I’m very proud of my son,” Levesque said