President Bush's hospital salute to a soldier injured in the terrorist crash into the pentagon-Truth!

President George W. and Laura Bush’s Hospital Salute to a Soldier Injured in the Terrorist Crash into the Pentagon-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:
The account of a visit by President and Mrs. Bush to the Washington Burn Center shortly after the terrorist attack of a hijacked jetliner at the Pentagon.  According to the story, Mrs. Bush visited in the room of Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, who was badly burned in the Pentagon crash.  She greeted Birdwell and his wife warmly then said there was someone else who wanted to see him.  In walked the president.  After asking how he was doing, the President saluted Birdwell and held the salute until Birdwell very slowly and painfully returned it.

The Truth:

Reporter Donna McGuire of the Kansas City star has interviewed the Birdwells and wrote an extensive article about it. It was published on December 9, 2001.

According to the article, Birdwell was so badly injured and in so much pain that he looked forward to surgeries because he knew he would be unconscious.

After spending a few moments in Birdwell’s room, President Bush turned and initiated a salute to Birdwell.  Normally, a salute to the president is initiated by a junior officer and is held until the president drops his salute.

McGuire wrote, “Stopping at the foot of Birdwell’s bed, the president snapped to attention and saluted…Birdwell
struggled to lift his severely burned arm and hand to his forehead, and he didn’t have the strength to hold it long.”

The president’s arm stayed still.

“He held his salute,” recalled Birdwell, “out of respect
for me.”