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Bush: War in Iraq Honors Heroes of the Past

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 30, 2005 – The ideals that were fought for in World War II are still relevant today in the global war on terror and are being honored by the continued commitment of U.S. forces in Iraq, President Bush said here today.

At a V-J Day ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island here, Bush spoke to active-duty sailors and Marines, WWII veterans and military families about the importance of the American victory over Japan 60 years ago.

"America confirmed the power of freedom to transform the bitterest enemies into the closest friends," he said.

The victory in WWII proved that democracy was the most unconquerable of all forms of society and that free nations could muster the resolve to defend themselves when attacked, Bush said. The victory also demonstrated the value of the spirit of liberty, he said, which is the most powerful weapon democracies have.

"Wherever our troops raised the flag of victory, they would also sew the seeds of liberty, and, as a result, the world is better off," he said.

The very ideals proven 60 years ago are again being tested in the war in Iraq, Bush said. Again, America was attacked on its own soil, and its resolve is being tested, he explained, but Americans can have confidence because of the courage and character of U.S. servicemembers.

"We will not rest until victory is American and our freedom is secure," he said.

The stakes in Iraq are high, Bush said, but as in the past, the enemies of America will fail and democracy will prevail. The best way to honor the sacrifices of military members past and present is to continue the fight until a free Iraq is built, he said.

"We will honor their sacrifices by completing the mission and laying the foundation for peace," he said. "We will never let the enemies of a new century destroy with cowardice what these Americans built with courage."

The future of freedom is in good hands with the men and women serving in America's armed forces today, Bush said. He recognized the sailors and Marines of North Island for playing a critical role in the war on terror.

"However you are serving, each of you is defending the nation and bringing honor to the uniform," he said. "Your commander in chief and your country are proud of your service."

The ceremony at North Island also included a performance by country music star Mark Wills and a speech by Jerry Coleman, the announcer for the San Diego Padres baseball team and a WWII veteran. Coleman, who was a fighter pilot in WWII, praised the attendees for their service to the nation.

"The greatest generation is right now," he said, "and they're out there looking at me."

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Full transcript of President Bush's speech

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