Bush Salutes Veterans, Present-Day Military at VFW Convention
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2008 The United States is beholden to servicemembers fighting the war against terrorism and to military veterans who served in past conflicts, President Bush said at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Orlando, Fla., today.
“America owes the men and women of the VFW a debt that could really never be repaid,” Bush said to a group that included some of today’s servicemembers as well as veterans of past conflicts. “You fought for our freedoms. And then when you came home, you volunteered to continue to serve this nation.”
Bush also thanked and praised present-day U.S. servicemembers for their service during the global war against terrorism.
“I want to thank the members of the armed forces that are here today,” the president said. “There is no greater honor than being the commander in chief of the United States military, and I’m proud to be in your presence.” Bush told servicemembers.
The men and women of the VFW not only support today’s servicemembers, Bush said, but also mentor youth groups. The organization, he added, also sponsors blood drives and sends packages to overseas-deployed military members.
The federal government, the VFW and municipal authorities, have teamed up to expand grant money to assist homeless veterans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Bush said.
No military veteran “who served in distant lands should have to live without shelter in the land they fought to defend,” Bush said, and he added that quality of service and care for injured servicemembers have been improved “to help our wounded warriors build lives of hope and promise and dignity.”
The federal government is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop new treatment for conditions such as traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, Bush said.
America’s military members, like the veterans before them, “deserve our full support,” Bush said, “because they are defending America in our nation’s first war in the 21st century.”