President Bush headed to Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Monday to meet with wounded soldiers ahead of the Christmas holiday, but that's only the latest activity in a wide-ranging effort the president has made to comfort the families of the fallen.

According to The Washington Times, the self-described "comforter in chief" said it's his duty as president to try to help as "best as I humanly can a loved one who is in anguish."

The Times notes that people familiar with Bush's routine say he has written letters personally to every one of the families of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. The task has taken a toll, and Bush has relied on his wife, Laura, for emotional support, he said.

"I lean on the Almighty and Laura," the president told the Times. "She has been very reassuring, very calming."

Vice President Cheney has also met with family members of soldiers who have died. 

Bush has met with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, often during private sessions, White House spokesman Carlton Carroll told the newspaper. 

The Times said the first lady was in on many of those meetings and also felt the heart-wrenching pain of such moments.

Click here to read The Washington Times article on Bush's meetings with wounded soldiers and  families of those killed in action.