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Bush Thanks Servicemembers, Military Families for Sacrifices

By Melinda L. Larson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2007 – President Bush used his weekly radio address yesterday to thank America’s servicemembers who will spend Christmas far away from their homes and loved ones.

“America is blessed to have men and women willing to step forward to defend our freedoms and keep us safe from our enemies. We are thankful for their courage and their dedication to duty,” Bush said.

Families of the nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen serve their country too, Bush said.

“America is also blessed to have military families willing to sacrifice for our country. And this Christmas, many will sit down to dinner thinking of their loved ones half a world away,” the president said.

Bush also praised the families of wounded warriors who help their loved ones recover from injuries suffered in combat. “Through their encouragement and devotion, they help heal the body and spirit, and they remind our wounded warriors that our nation stands behind them,” he said.

For the military families who have lost loved ones in battle, Bush commended them for turning their grief into acts of compassion and love.

“One such inspiring example is the family of Army Spec. Michael Rodriguez, of Knoxville, Tenn. During his deployment in Iraq, Michael often wrote home to his family about the children he met on patrol. In April, Michael was killed by a suicide bomber,” Bush said.

Bush added that Rodriguez’s family honors his memory by helping to collect school supplies for students at an Iraqi school for girls. “At this time of year, we acknowledge that love and sacrifice can transform our world,” he said.

While thousands of military families are apart this holiday season, Bush expressed his hope for all of America’s families to tighten their familial bonds.

“As Christmas approaches, Laura and I extend to all Americans our best wishes, and we hope every family is brought closer together during this season of reflection and rejoicing,” the president concluded.

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