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Bush, First Lady Visit Wounded Troops at Walter Reed

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2003 – President Bush and his wife, Laura, paid a Sept. 11 visit to troops being treated here for wounds received in the global war against terrorism.

Bush presented Purple Heart medals to wounded service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Afterward, he declared to reporters that those service members are "people who are willing to sacrifice in order to make sure that attacks like Sept. 11 don't happen again."

The president thanked Walter Reed's staff of doctors, nurses and other caregivers "for enabling me to say to our fellow citizens that when somebody who wears the uniform gets injured, they get the absolute best care as quickly as possible."

Bush said he was grateful for service members willing to serve in a cause greater than themselves.

The president also commented on the two apparently new al Qaeda-sponsored video and audiotapes recently broadcast over the Aljazeera satellite-TV network. The videotape shows footage believed to be of fugitive al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden walking down a rock-strewn mountainside with an aide.

The audiotape, according to news reports, exhorts Muslims to continue fighting U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, and predicts more large-scale terrorist attacks.

The emergence of the tapes reminds Americans "that the war on terror goes on," Bush noted, pointing out that the audiotape's message is an attempt "to create fear." Bush declared that bin Laden and his minions "aren't going to intimate America" through such threats.

"We are at war because of what he and his fellow killers decided to do two years ago today," the president remarked.

America, the commander in chief emphasized, will remain at war until terrorist organizations are dismantled.

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