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Bush: Today's Troops Follow Battle of Bulge Vets' Example

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg, Dec. 16, 2004 – A proclamation issued today by President Bush praises veterans of the Battle of the Bulge for their service and sacrifices and notes that today's military men and women continue to follow "this great tradition of achievement and courage" as they defend the nation against terror.

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Air Force Secretary Jim Roche tells Battle of the Bulge veterans Dec. 16 they set the standard for today's troops waging the war on terror. Photo by Donna Miles

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The proclamation, read to the veterans by U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg Peter Terpeluk at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial here, pays tribute to them for making a "formidable stand" during a massive German counteroffensive launched 60 years ago today.

The American soldiers' actions, Bush wrote, proved to be "a turning point in the war" that "was critical to the defeat of Nazi Germany and the liberation of Europe from tyranny."

It's a victory that came at a tremendous price, the president acknowledged, with about 81,000 U.S. casualties, including 19,000 soldiers killed.

"Americans continue to be inspired by the valor and integrity of those who fought and of those who died in the Battle of the Bulge," he wrote. "On the 60th anniversary of one of the fiercest battles of World War II, our nation honors the veterans who share with us the story of this epic struggle and all the brave Americans who fought in the Battle of the Bulge."

The president urged all Americans to observe the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge and to "honor those who served and sacrificed to liberate Europe and defend America's freedom and security."

Bush noted that "when it mattered most, the entire generation of Americans showed the finest qualities of our nation and humanity."

Today's servicemen and women are once again rising to their country's calling as they "wage a war on terrorism and defend freedom," the president wrote.

"Just like their parents and grandparents, the men and women of this generation of our military have answered the call to help advance peace and democracy and keep the American people safe," he wrote.

Bush's proclamation echoed the sentiment expressed by Air Force Secretary Jim Roche during a memorial ceremony earlier today at Schumann Crossroads, scene of a particularly bloody fight.

Roche said today's military members, like those who fought during the Battle of the Bulge, are making a courageous stand in protecting their country and its freedoms in the global war on terror.

The Battle of the Bulge demonstrates an important lesson that stands today, he said: "We must have courage, and we must prevail."

He thanked the veterans of the Battle of the Bulge for fortitude and perseverance he said "has inspired us to honor liberty and to stand our ground and to hope."

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Related Sites:
Presidential Proclamation

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Ceremonies Commemorate 60th Anniversary of Battle of Bulge
Luxembourg Officials Thank Battle of Bulge Vets
Battle of Bulge Heroes Demonstrated Age-Old Army Values
Battle of the Bulge Remembered 60 Years Later

Click photo for screen-resolution imageA U.S. soldier views the name of the fallen World War II veterans at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial during Dec. 16 ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Photo by Bill Miles  
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