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Christening Ceremony for USS Bush
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Norfolk, Virginia, Saturday, October 07, 2006

    Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.

    Mr. President and Mrs. Bush; and Mr. President and Mrs. Bush. And all the members of both Bush Cabinets and administrations -- it’s wonderful to see you all. Governor Bush, Doro, members of the Bush family, Justice Thomas.

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Pete Pace, and Chief of Naval Operations Mike Mullen -- it’s a privilege to serve with each of you. And to all the men and women in uniform here, thank you for your service as well.

    Governor Kaine, Chairman Warner, Senator Allen. You know, it’s a real privilege -- a high privilege -- to be able to say a word about this mighty ship and this man whose name it will proudly carry into the high seas into victory. I might ask our 41st president -- whom we rightly honor today -- a moment of indulgence to recognize someone here with her own unique place in history.

    The descendant of a president. The wife of a president. The mother of a president and of two governors. That distinction does not just happen. It must take -- well, I know it takes an uncommon grace, and wisdom -- and it must also take stamina.

    Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in honoring a wife, and a partner, and an historic figure in her own right -- Mrs. Barbara Bush. (Applause) We thank you for your service to our country, and the example you have provided generations of Americans.

    Today we pay tribute to a man, who, from Navy ensign to president, has served his country with honor.

    For years to come, in this 90,000 tons of military might, future generations will be reminded of President Bush’s service; and in the almost 6,000 men and women manning this vessel, they will see the kind of courage that inspired a young George Bush to volunteer for the Navy on his 18th birthday.

    Those traits of strength and love of country are family hallmarks -- we saw them in the distinguished senator from Connecticut, Prescott Bush. We saw them in the man we honor today. And we see those traits today in our president, who has shown such courage and determination in our nation’s time of peril. In times of great difficulty, character counts -- and for those of us who are privileged to serve this president, we see that character, that grit, every single day -- to the great benefit of human freedom.

    Ladies and gentlemen, it is a high honor to present our Commander-in-Chief, the President, George W. Bush. (Applause)


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