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Bush Thanks Caregivers at Bethesda Naval Medical Center

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2005 – President Bush traveled today to the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., near here to thank an "incredible team of healers" whom he said bring comfort, aid and solace to those who have been hurt on the battlefield, as well as their families.

The president recognized the military medical caregivers' "decency and compassion and skill" that assures military members that, if hurt, they will receive the best medical care possible, he said.

"And so we're here to thank the nurses and the docs and the healers and the volunteers who put the smile on the faces of those who have been hurt, as well as their families," he said. "That's done right here at Bethesda, as well as (at the nearby) Walter Reed (Army Medical Center in Washington,)" he said.

"We're serving in an amazing time," as the nation faces "unbelievable challenges," the president told the medical staff. An enemy still lurks, waiting for an opportunity to hurt Americans, he noted.

"And we've got to do everything in our power to protect the America people. That is our solemn duty," Bush said.

Defeating this enemy provides the opportunity for the United States to help lay the foundation for peace that will extend for generations, Bush said.

"What we are seeing today is brave troops and committed citizens who are not only determined to chase down the killers and bring them to justice before they hurt us again, but understand that by spreading freedom and democracy, we're battling an ideology of darkness with an ideology of hope," he said.

The task isn't easy and requires determination, discipline and faith, Bush acknowledged.

But someday, as a future U.S. president sits down with a democratically elected leader of Iraq to keep the peace, Bush said, they and future generations of Americans will remember with thanks what the United States is sacrificing to accomplish today.

"And so on behalf of a grateful nation, thanks for doing your duty, thanks for serving, thanks for being part of this march for freedom," the president said. "And thanks, most of all, for bringing comfort and aid and solace to those who have been hurt on the battlefield, and their families."

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Related Sites:
Transcript of President Bush's Remarks
National Naval Medical Center
Walter Reed Army Medical Center

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