President Bush met with the families of fallen soldiers before Tuesday’s Fort Bragg speech and was urged by a widow to stay the course in Iraq.

“I said: ‘I know people are pushing you, but please don’t pull the guys out of Iraq too soon,’?” said Crystal Owen, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Mike Owen, was killed in Iraq last year. “Don’t let my husband — and 1,700-plus other deaths — be in vain,” she added during a private meeting with Mr. Bush at the North Carolina base. “They were over there, fighting for a democratic nation, and I hope you’ll keep our service members over there until the mission can be accomplished.” Mrs. Owen gave the president a stainless steel bracelet engraved with the names of her husband and another soldier, Cpl. John Santos, both of whom were killed on Oct. 15.

The families get it.