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President Visits War Wounded at Walter Reed

By Michael E. Dukes
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2005 – President Bush visited about 40 recovering war-wounded service members and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here today to thank them for their service and sacrifices and to wish them a happy Fourth of July weekend.

"It's my honor to have come back to Walter Reed to say hello to the wounded and their families," the president said to reporters after the visit, Bush said.

"I especially want to thank the docs and the nurses who work at this fantastic place of healing. Every time I come here, I'm struck by the remarkable resolve and courage of the men and women who are being treated here, and the great compassion by the men and women who are helping the wounded," he added.

"As we celebrate the Fourth of July, I urge Americans to send a strong signal of support to the men and women who wear our nation's uniform. You can do so by flying the flag or writing a letter to somebody overseas," the president said. "We've got great troops, men and women who are laying the foundation for peace for generations to come."

"I wish all Americans a happy 4th of July," Bush said before leaving the hospital.

Walter Reed has treated 4,202 patients from Operation Iraqi Freedom since it began in 2003, 1,151 battle casualties among them. Of the 1,151, 914 have received treatment as inpatients and 237 as outpatients.

(Michael E. Dukes works at Walter Reed Public Affairs Office.)

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