Bush Speech Touches on History of Freedom; Sends Thanks to U.S. Armed Forces Abroad

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President Bush yesterday used Independence Day to thank U.S. armed forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, as he urged Americans to keep the resolve their forefathers have exhibited throughout history.

"During that hot summer in Philadelphia more than 200 years ago, from our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a civil war, to the hard-fought battles of the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve, or our way," the president said in a speech at West Virginia University.

"But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths: We know that the freedom we defend is meant for all men and women, and for all times. And we know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat; it is courage," he said.

Mr. Bush, with no tie and with his sleeves rolled up, pointed out that establishing a democracy from scratch - which early Americans did and which Iraqis are attempting now - is not easy.

"On July 4, 1776, more than five years of the Revolutionary War still lay ahead. From the battle of New York to the winter at Valley Forge, to the victory at Yorktown, our forefathers faced terrible losses and hardships. Yet, they kept their resolve," the president said.

Mr. Bush said he is troubled by the "images of cruelty and suffering we see on television," but added that terrorists and insurgents in Iraq have utterly failed to make progress on their goal of stopping freedom and democracy in the Middle East nation.

"The terrorists tried to intimidate the Iraqi Governing Council, and they failed," he said. "They tried to delay the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq, and they failed. They tried to stop the free Iraqi elections, and they failed. …