President Bush closed his remarks to the nation last night by noting the war-related death of a Maryland Marine whose sacrifice, he said, helped "fight a great evil and bring liberty to others."
The mention of Cpl. Jason David Mileo, 20, of Pasadena in the president's speech did not surprise his father, Phillip Hall of Centreville.
Hall said he was aware that the president was going to mention his son in the address aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. But he missed the speech because of a misunderstanding over its time.
He said he and his wife, Leah, will remember their son for more than his sacrifice.
"We're very proud of our son," his father said last night. "Not just his service to the country, but the man that he was. He was a stand-up man with a lot of integrity and character."
Mileo was shot and killed in Iraq last month after he was mistaken for an enemy soldier.
A 2000 graduate of Chesapeake High School, he was raised in Pasadena and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, which is based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in San Bernardino County, Calif.
An avid hunter, Mileo enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school and attended boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.
Mileo's parents recently moved to Centreville in Queen Anne's County on the Eastern Shore.
Before Mileo's death, he stood in a dusty central Baghdad square and watched as a symbol of Saddam Hussein's brutal government - a metal statue of the dictator - was toppled by U.S. troops and broken apart by a mob.
For the young soldier, it was a pride-filled and patriotic moment, one he shared by using a reporter's satellite phone to leave a message at his parents' home. It was the last they heard from him.
Bush used Mileo's death to underscore the painful reminder that "some good men and women are not making the journey home."
"One of those who fell, Corporal Jason Mileo, spoke to his parents five days before his death," the president said. "Jason's father said, `He called us from the center of Baghdad, not to brag but to tell us he loved us. Our son was a soldier.'
"Those we lost were last seen on duty. Their final act on this Earth was to fight a great evil, and bring liberty to others."
Mileo was the third serviceman from Maryland to die in the Iraq war.