Bush Urges Americans to Support Modern-Day Patriots

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2007 - President Bush took advantage of a Fourth of July address yesterday to urge all Americans to show support for men and women in uniform who continue to defend American liberties.

"Our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror are serving in a cause that is vital and just," Bush told members of the West Virginia Air National Guard and their families in Martinsburg, W.Va. "And on this Fourth of July, I ask every American to find a way to thank the men and women who are defending our freedom and the families that support them."

Bush noted different ways people can show their gratitude. "You can send a care package. You can reach out to a military family in your neighborhood with a mom or dad on the front lines," he said. "You can ask somebody, 'What can I do to help you? What do you need?' You can carpool. You can be on bended knee and pray for a soldier and their families."

The president urged those looking for ways to show support to visit the Defense Department's "America Supports You" Web site. "At this Web site,, you can learn about efforts in your own community as to how you can support our troops," he said.

America Supports You is a nationwide program that recognizes citizens' support for U.S. military men and women and communicates that support to the armed forces, both at home and abroad. Since its launch in November 2004, the program has continued to grow as individual citizens, businesses and groups ranging from local schools and churches to major corporations host events and undertake projects to support military members.

The America Supports You Web site showcases those efforts and helps connect people looking for ways to show support with the myriad efforts under way.

During yesterday's visit with the 167th Airlift Wing airmen and families, Bush recognized Joy Enders, president of the wing's family readiness group, for her efforts in reaching out to deployed servicemembers. "She and other members of the group make it their mission to care for the families of our deployed Guardsmen and -women," the president said.

He noted that before a recent deployment, group members took photos of deploying airmen and created transfers to iron onto the troops' children's pillowcases. "It's a simple act, but it's an act of love and compassion that gave the children a sense that their moms and dads were nearby, even though they were deployed 1,000 miles away," he said.

This and all other gestures of support send an important message to the country's servicemembers who are protecting the freedoms all Americans enjoy, the president said.

He acknowledged sacrifices servicemembers and their families have endured toward that end.

Some have made the ultimate sacrifice or lost a loved one, he said. "And so on this Fourth of July, we pause to remember the fallen and the grieving families they have left behind," he said. "We hold them in our hearts; we lift them up in our prayers; and we pledge to honor their memory by finishing the work for which they have given their life."

Other servicemembers and their families have endured long separations. "Our military families miss their moms and dads and husbands and wives and sons and daughters," Bush said. "And they look forward to welcoming their loved ones home."

Bush recognized those in the group who had loved ones deployed overseas this Fourth of July. "And I know it may be hard to enjoy the fireworks and the picnics and the other celebrations while they're away on dangerous duty in a faraway land," he said.

"So I've come today to express our affection, the affection of the United States of America for the military families who stand strong in the face of the difficult struggle we face to secure the United States of America," he said. "We're blessed to have our military families in the United States, and I'm blessed to be here with you."

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