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Inside Politics

Bush salutes those who protect Americans

President calls on countrymen to help those in need
George W. Bush

CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush gave thanks Saturday for the "compassion and decency" of Americans, especially those who help guard the nation.

In his weekly radio address, two days after Thanksgiving, Bush said, "The greatest challenges of our time have come to the men and women who protect our nation. We're fortunate to have dedicated firefighters and police officers to keep our streets safe.

"We're grateful for the homeland security and intelligence personnel who spend long hours on faithful watch. And we give thanks to the men and women of our military, who are serving with courage and skill."

Reflecting on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush added, "Like generations before them, today's armed forces have liberated captive peoples and shown compassion for the suffering and delivered hope to the oppressed.

"In the past year, they have fought the terrorists abroad so that we do not have to face those enemies here at home. They've captured a brutal dictator, aided last month's historic election in Afghanistan, and help set Iraq on the path to democracy."

Americans, said Bush, appreciate the hardships faced by members of the military and their families, and mourn those who have died serving their country.

He singled out several people whom he said have shown great generosity toward American troops. For example, Bush said he had met Shauna Fleming, a 15-year-old from California who coordinated the mailing of a million thank-you letters to military personnel.

Other volunteers also are making their mark this holiday, he said, such as the young people who volunteer at homeless shelters or food pantries.

"On Thanksgiving, and on every day of the year, America is a more hopeful nation because of the volunteers who serve the weak and the vulnerable," Bush said from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

"Thanksgiving reminds us that America's true strength is the compassion and decency of our people."

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