|Bush honors troops at Christmas
[ 2006-12-25 09:38 ]
President Bush is spending the long
Christmas weekend in seclusion with his family at Camp David - the
presidential mountain retreat. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports on Christmas
Eve, he paid tribute to the men and women of the U.S. military.
The president rose early for a Christmas ritual - a series of calls to
members of the armed services. He spoke with ten servicemen and women in
all, including two from each branch of the military. Most are deployed in
either Afghanistan or Iraq.
Spokeswoman Dana Perino quotes the president as saying he wanted to let
them how much he appreciates their service, and how proud he is of each of
The sentiments echo those in the president's annual Christmas message
to the armed forces. "Each of you is a volunteer who is answering a great
call at an historic moment. You choose to serve a cause greater than
yourself, and your courage and character are an inspiration for all who
love freedom. By confronting the terrorists and bringing liberty to the
oppressed you are making the American people safer and laying the
foundations of peace for generations to come," he said.
In the taped message, Mr. Bush also thanked the families left behind,
and said he joins them in praying for the safe return of the their loved
ones in harm's way. "For generations the men and women of America's armed
forces have served around the world fighting for freedom and keeping our
nation safe. You continue that tradition today and your work makes America
proud," he said.
On Saturday, the president met at Camp David with Defense Secretary
Robert Gates, who recently returned from his first visit to Iraq. Mr. Bush
will continue consultations on his Iraq policy after Christmas during a
week-long stay at his Texas ranch. He is expected to announce a revised
strategy for dealing with the situation in Iraq early in 2007.