McCain and the Bracelet

She hasn't changed her mind about whether going to war was right. To her, that really doesn't matter now. It's done. It happened.

"I just don't think that pulling everybody out is the right thing to do," she said. "I think it would be a sign of defeat, failure. For whatever reason they got in. I may not necessarily agree with the reason of how we got there or how it was handled or whatever, but I do think we need to finish what we start."

A few weeks after Savage gave her bracelet to McCain, she and her husband were invited to hear him give a speech. Later, she rode in with the candidate and his staff in the Straight Talk Express, the campaign bus, when he launched his No Surrender tour in September.

"It was quite an experience, one I'll never forget" she said.

The Savages were invited to other events that fall, but she was ill and they declined. She spoke once to McCain on the phone, but otherwise they lost touch with him.

Then, Dec. 16, the anniversary of their son's death, their home phone rang. It was McCain.

  "I thought that was just incredible," she said. "He took time out of his busy life just to call, just to see how I was doing. He wanted to make sure I was OK is what he said."

Many weeks later, a friend called to say that she had seen McCain on C-Span at a campaign event and that he had mentioned Matthew and the bracelet she had given him.

Savage said until that moment she had no idea McCain spoke about it -- about Matthew, about her -- at almost every stop.   

"It kind of makes me feel good," she said. "I promised to myself that I would not keep [just] my son's memory alive, but all the soldiers who have passed. I think by doing that he's fulfilling my dream of keeping the memories alive."

"I think it's absolutely wonderful. I don't think we can have a finer president."

Her husband has since bought her another bracelet like the one she gave to McCain. She wears that one now.

"I have my days," she said with a sigh. "I lost my son. What do you say? I lost the baby of my family. He's missed, terribly."

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