May 26th, 2007 15:16 EST
Bush Calls on Americans to Remember Sacrifices for Freedom
President Bush today asked all Americans to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
In his weekly radio address, Bush asked Americans to remember those who died defending the nation, and to also remember the sacrifice of their families. He asked Americans to rededicate themselves to freedom.
“On Memorial Day, we also pay tribute to Americans from every generation who have given their lives for our freedom,” Bush said. “From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, brave men and women have given up their own futures so that others might have a future of freedom. Because of their sacrifice, millions here and around the world enjoy the blessings of liberty. And wherever these patriots rest, we offer them the respect and gratitude of our nation.”
Currently, U.S. forces are helping the Iraqis and Afghans build democracies that respect the rights of all, he said. Iraqi and Afghan security forces stand alongside American servicemembers in battling the forces of extremism.
“In Iraq and Afghanistan, millions have shown their desire to be free, Bush said. “We are determined to help them secure their liberty.”
“With the valor and determination of our men and women in uniform, I am confident that we will succeed and leave a world that is safer and more peaceful for our children and grandchildren,” he said.
The president said Americans live in freedom because patriots of all generations were willing to serve, and sometimes die. He spoke of Marine Sgt. David Christoff Jr., of Rossford, Ohio. Christoff enlisted immediately after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He deployed to Iraq, fought street by street in the battle of Fallujah and earned a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in action.
“While on leave back home, David learned his company was headed for combat in Afghanistan,” the president said. “But he knew there was also a job to finish in Iraq. So he asked to be reassigned to a unit headed for Iraq, and last May he died in Anbar province where the Marines are taking the fight to al Qaeda. When his family received his belongings, his mother and his father each found a letter from David. He asked that they pray for his fellow Marines and all those still serving overseas.”
“On Memorial Day, our nation honors Sgt. Christoff's final request,” Bush continued. “We pray for our men and women serving in harm's way. We pray for their safe return. And we pray for their families and loved ones, who also serve our country with their support and sacrifice.”
To date, 3,433 servicemembers and Defense Department civilians have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. About 26,000 have been wounded in action. A total of 387 U.S. servicemembers and Defense civilians have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom, with more than 1,200 wounded.
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service