WASHINGTON, July 4, 2006 – President Bush today called on the American public to do their part in supporting the nation's men and women in uniform.
President George W. Bush spoke before a crowd of more than 1,000 soldiers, airmen and family members July 4, 2006, on Fort Bragg, N.C. Bush asked the American people to support their servicemembers, and he thanked the troops and their families for their service and sacrifice in the Global War on Terrorism during his Independence Day visit. (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"Across our country, Americans are coming together to help our deployed forces and their families -- and we can do more," Bush said during an Independence Day speech at Fort Bragg, N.C. "I ask every citizen to consider making a contribution to the men and women who defend us, because every one of us owes our freedom to these courageous Americans."
"On this 4th of July, I ask all Americans to take a moment and consider what you might do to support the men and women who wear our nation's uniform," the president said. "If you're interested in helping, go to a Department of Defense Web site called www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil
. That's where you can find a place to volunteer, an opportunity to help."
Bush said he met last week with leaders of military support organizations from across the country. Today, he told the troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., "America stands with you."
"These groups are sending letters to our troops and offering scholarships for the children of our fallen and severely wounded soldiers," he said. "And they're providing millions of dollars in assistance to families of servicemen and women in need."
The president recalled meeting Emily Dieruf of Versailles, Ky., who lost her husband, Marine Cpl. Nicholas Dieruf, in Iraq.
"Emily Dieruf has dedicated her life to helping our servicemen and women and their families in difficult times," Bush said. "She travels the country raising funds for a group called USA Cares, and together, they provided more than $1.4 million in assistance to our military families. The president also recalled meeting Mary Harper, whose five children and one son-in-law are in the Army and have served in Iraq. "Mary was concerned about our troops not receiving mail from home, and so she started something called Operation ShoeBox," Bush said. "Today, she has 500 volunteers working with her, shipping between 500 and 700 care packages a week to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and other fronts in the war on terror.
"People like Mary and Emily represent the heart and soul of our nation, and they make this country proud," Bush said.
Last year, he noted, more than 6,400 members of the Fort Bragg community served as volunteers, putting in more than 725,000 hours of service to their friends and neighbors at this base. They coached Little League teams, comforted children who miss deployed parents and helped returning soldiers readjust from life in a combat zone to life at home. "As you stand with one another here at Fort Bragg," Bush said, "you need to know, America stands with you. We support you."
-- By Linda D. Kozaryn - American Forces Press Service