President Thanks Troops, Urges Americans to Thank Them Too
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 28, 2005 President Bush tonight expressed his gratitude to the nation's military members and their families, and urged the American people to take time on Independence Day to make their own gesture of thanks.
Bush spoke at Fort Bragg, N.C., in a nationally televised address.
"To the soldiers in this hall and our servicemen and women across the globe, I thank you for your courage under fire and your service to our nation," he said. "I thank our military families; the burden of war falls especially hard on you. In this war we have lost good men and women who left our shores to defend freedom and did not live to make the journey home.
"I've met with families grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken from us too soon," he continued. "I've been inspired by their strength in the face of such great loss. We pray for the families. And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission."
The president also expressed gratitude to military people who signed on to continue their service. "I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you," he said. "And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves."
Bush said servicemembers should know the nation is behind them and that Independence Day provides a chance for the American people "to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine at every outpost across the world."
"This Fourth of July," the president said, "I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending a letter to our troops in the field, or helping the military family down the street."
He said the Defense Department's "America Supports You" Web site is a good way to learn about efforts to support the nation's men and women in uniform. "You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community," the president said. "At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men and women who defend us all."
Those fighting the war on terror have earned their place in history and the nation's gratitude, Bush said. "Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform," he said. "When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom."