Transcript: Bush Casts War on Terrorism in Historic Terms
Wednesday, June 2, 2004; 2:26 PM
President George W. Bush delivered the commencement address at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs today. Here is a transcript of his remarks.
BUSH: Secretary Roche and General Jumper, General Rosa, Attorney General Ashcroft, Congresswoman Heather Wilson, Air Force Academy graduate 1982, academy staff and faculty, distinguished guests, officers, cadets, members of the graduating class, and your families, thanks for the warm welcome. And thanks -- and thank you for the honor to visit the United States Air Force Academy on your 50th anniversary.
You've worked hard to get to this moment. You survived the beast, spent seven months eating your meals at attention, carried boulders from Cathedral Rock and endured countless hours in Jack's Valley.
In four years, you've been transformed from basics and smacks...
... to proud officers and airmen worthy of the degree and the commission you receive. Congratulations on a great achievement.
BUSH: Your superintendent has made a positive difference in a short time. I thank him for helping to restore the academy's tradition of honor which applies to every man and woman without exception.
I thank the superb faculty for your high standards and dedication to preparing Air Force officers.
And I thank the parents here today for standing behind your sons and daughters as they step forward to serve America.
This is a week of remembrance for our country. On Saturday we dedicated the World War II Memorial in Washington in the company of veterans who fought and flew at places like Midway and Iwo Jima and Normandy.
This weekend I will go to France for the ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of D-Day, at a place where the fate of millions turned on the courage of thousands.
In these events, we recall a time of peril and national unity and individual courage, we honor a generation of Americans who served this country and saved the liberty of the world.
On this day in 1944, General Eisenhower sat down at his headquarters in the English countryside and wrote out a message to the troops who would soon invade Normandy.
BUSH: "Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force," he wrote, "the eyes the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."
Each of you receiving a commission today in the United States military will also carry the hopes of free people everywhere.
As your generation assumes its own duties during a global conflict that will define your careers, you will be called upon to take brave action and serve with honor.
In some ways, this struggle we're in is unique. In other ways it resembles the great clashes of the last century between those who put their trust in tyrants and those who put their trust in liberty.
Our goal -- the goal of this generation is the same. We will secure our nation and defend the peace through the forward march of freedom.
Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States. We will not forget that treachery and we will accept nothing less than victory over the enemy.
Like the murderous ideologies of the 20th century, the ideology of terrorism reaches across borders and seeks recruits in every country.
BUSH: So we're fighting these enemies wherever they hide across the Earth.
Like other totalitarian movements, the terrorists seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity. So to the oppressed peoples everywhere we are offering the great alternative of human liberty.
Like enemies of the past, the terrorists underestimate the strength of free peoples. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent and with a few hard blows will collapse in weakness and in panic.
The enemy has learned that America is strong and determined, because of the steady resolve of our citizens and because of the skill and strength of the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and the United States Air Force.
© 2004 FDCH E-Media