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Bush Expresses Thanksgiving Appreciation to Troops

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2006 – President Bush expressed thanks in his radio address today to the troops who are risking their lives far from home this Thanksgiving holiday to protect the rights the Pilgrims celebrated that first Thanksgiving Day.

The desire for freedom that drove the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, Mass., still guides the United States today, the president said. “Americans believe that every person has the right to live, work and worship in freedom,” he said. “And we're thankful to the men and women of our nation's armed forces who risk their lives to protect those rights.”

The American people know that “many of our finest citizens are spending the holiday far from their homes and loved ones,” the president said. “And we know that their service makes it possible for us to live in freedom.”

Bush said his visit to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, earlier this week reinforced his deep appreciation of the contributions U.S. troops and their families make every day.

 “Our servicemembers there have deployed around the world -- to fight the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, conduct important maritime exercises in the Pacific, help deliver humanitarian aid to the victims of disaster and fight drug trafficking,” he said. “I told the men and women at the base that we're grateful for their bravery and service and that we will never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

The president paid special recognition to Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, who died in Iraq two-and-a-half years ago in Iraq, when he threw himself on top of an enemy grenade and absorbed the blast. “His selfless act saved the lives of two of his fellow Marines, and earlier this month I announced that our nation will recognize Corporal Dunham with our highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor,” he said.

“Corporal Dunham's friends remember him as the kind of guy who would do anything for you, his superiors remember him as a model Marine and a grateful nation will forever remember him as one of America's most valiant heroes,” Bush said. “This Thanksgiving, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with all military families, especially those mourning the loss of a loved one.”

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