WASHINGTON – President Bush on Saturday renewed the nation's commitment to help victims of last year's Gulf Coast hurricanes and thanked U.S. troops fighting abroad.
In his Saturday radio address, Bush said Americans are grateful to those who rallied after hurricanes Katrina and Rita to bring food, water and hope to people who lost everything.
"We renew our commitment to help those who are still suffering and to rebuild our nation's Gulf Coast," Bush said.
Next week, the president will attend a NATO summit in Europe and will meet in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. On Saturday, he reminded Americans that many U.S. troops are spending the holiday weekend far from their families.
"We know that their service makes it possible for us to live in freedom," Bush said.
He said the desire for freedom that led pilgrims to America still guides the nation today. "While they were only a shivering few, we are now a strong and growing nation of more than 300 million."
On Tuesday, Bush visited U.S. troops stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu. He stopped there on his way back from a trip to Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.
"Our service members there have deployed around the world to fight the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, conduct important maritime exercises in the Pacific, help deliver humanitarian aid to the victims of disaster and fight drug trafficking," Bush said.
He singled out Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham of Scio, N.Y., who died after throwing himself on an enemy grenade, saving two of his fellow Marines in Iraq. The Medal of Honor — the nation's highest decoration for valor — will be given posthumously to Dunham, who died April 22, 2004, after an ambush near the Syrian border.
"This Thanksgiving, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with all military families, especially those mourning the loss of a loved one," Bush said.