North Texas fallen officer's family recalls president's outreach

President Donald Trump's claim that his predecessors did not sufficiently honor the nation's fallen has drawn heated responses.

Despite Trump's claims, the record shows presidents reached out to families of the dead and to the wounded, often with their presence, as well as by letter and phone.

Some 6,900 Americans have been killed in overseas wars since the September 11 attack. The overwhelming majority happened under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Since Trump took office in January, about two dozen U.S. service members have been killed.

All three Roberts brothers served in the military. In 2011, 23-year-old Michael Roberts didn't come back from the war in Afghanistan.

Patrick Roberts says the veterans memorial in their home of Watauga doesn't take away the pain, and neither did the letter from then-President Obama.

"This would be the letter my mom and dad received from the White House,” Patrick said.

The letter read in part, “Our nation will not forget his sacrifice. We will never be able to repay our debt to your family. A simple letter cannot ease the pain of losing a child."

The family received the letter, but not a phone call from the president.

"A call from the president wouldn't have made it easier for us to handle, but would have made us feel as though his death was recognized by the Commander-in-Chief,” Patrick said.

A former senior official says Obama met personally with families of several fallen service members, notably in 2009 when the remains of 18 fallen personnel were returned from Afghanistan to Dover Air Force Base.

George W. Bush's spokesman says he met with hundreds if not thousands of families during his administration.

But for Patrick Roberts, it's always been about honoring his brother, Michael, and never about the politics.

"He re-enlisted while he was in a combat zone to be an MP, which is one of the least liked, most dangerous MOS in the military,” Patrick said. “He was very proud. He had the chops to do the hard job."

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