President Bush on Veterans Day: Another Opportunity
An excerpt from President Bush's remarks at the National Fallen Soldiers Memorial Ceremony, American Legion Post 121, Waco, Texas, November 11, 2007:
2:52 P.M. CST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Clayton, thanks inviting me. I'm really honored to be here with you. Congressman Edwards, thank you for your eloquence and your very moving remarks. Members of the Texas State Legislature, it's good to see you again. Distinguished mayors, thank you all for being here. Proud veterans and families of the fallen: It is a privilege to spend this Veterans Day with you, and to join you in honoring four sons of the great state of Texas who gave their lives in freedom's cause.
The young men we remember today did not live to be called veterans. They died in a distant land fighting terror, spreading freedom, and protecting their fellow citizens from danger. The valor and selfless devotion of these men fills their families with immeasurable pride. Yet this pride cannot fill the hole in their loved ones' aching hearts, or relieve the burden of grief that will remain for a lifetime. In their sorrow, these families need to know, and families all across the nation of the fallen need to know that your loved ones served a cause that is good, and just, and noble. And as their Commander-in-Chief, I make you this promise: their sacrifice will not be in vain.
I know all the veterans gathered here and across the nation feel a special bond with our fallen soldiers and their families. Many experienced the heartbreak and tragic losses of war. Our veterans know that -- what it's like to lose a brother on the field of battle. And many of them recall the determination they felt when a beloved comrade fell, the determination to pick up the mantle, to carry on the fight, and to complete the mission.
That's precisely what today's generation of soldiers is doing in the war on terror. Since the attacks of September the 11th, 2001, more than 2 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our nation's uniform -- and during that same period, 1.5 million American troops have made the courageous decision to re-enlist and to stay in the fight. These men and women saw the future the terrorists intend for our country, and they said with clear voices: "Not on my watch." America is blessed to have such brave defenders. They are tomorrow's veterans -- and they're bringing pride to our country.
Their service is noble, and it is necessary. [ . . . ]
As veterans, you have confidence in freedom's cause -- because you have seen with your own eyes the power of liberty to transform nations and secure the peace. The men and women gathered before me took an oath to defend America -- and you upheld that oath with honor, and decency, and valor. You humbled tyrants, liberated continents, and freed millions from unspeakable oppression. And because of your service and sacrifice, the world has been transformed in once unimaginable ways. [ . . . ]
I thank our nation's veterans for the fine example that you have set for our country. I thank you for your courage and your patriotism and your devotion to duty. I thank you for standing up for the men and women of our Armed Forces -- and I thank you for all you do to support the families they leave behind during this time of war.
May God bless and keep all who have made the ultimate sacrifice. May God bless and keep our brave and honored veterans. May God bless those who are in harm's way. And may God continue to bless our nation. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 2:58 P.M. CST
President Bush just praised, rightly, the more than 2 million Americans who stepped forward to Be A Man! Enlist! since September 11, 2001, and the more than 1.5 million Americans in uniform who have re-enlisted. Here are our questions:
Does President Bush personally know any of them?
Has President Bush ever asked anyone, even those he does not know personally, to volunteer for military service? We can't find a single example, but welcome a specific, public statement to this effect.
We do know, however, that this Veterans Day would have been a great opportunity to issue a Call to Service on behalf of America.
Important Note: Yes, President Bush's nephew George P. Bush has joined the Naval Reserve. To our knowledge, however, he has not been called to active duty, service on which confers veteran status.