The text of the president’s speech tonight to the convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in St. Louis is available here. The speech is incredibly warm, moving, and powerful. Here’s my favorite part: “On Memorial Day last year, I visited the military cemetery at Normandy, and saw the grave of one of the founders of the American Legion, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. When Roosevelt landed with the first wave of his unit on D-Day, he and his men found themselves in a different part of Utah Beach from the point they expected. Roosevelt quickly sized up the situation and called in a whole division to the new sector. Turning a challenge into an advantage, he declared: we’ll start the war from here. (Applause.)
“Well, a great challenge came to America on September the 11th, 2001. Enemies who plotted for years in secret, carried out missions of murder on our own soil. It was a day of suffering and sorrow. It was also a day of decision for our country. As a united and resolute people, America declared: we’ll start the war from here. (Applause.)”
HINDROCKET adds: I was about to post on the President’s speech when I saw that the Trunk had beaten me to it. I just want to add a few additional favorite parts:
“Because America stands for freedom and tolerance and the rights of all, the terrorists have targeted our country. During the last few decades the terrorists grew bolder, believing if they hit America hard, America would retreat and back down. Five years ago, one of the terrorists said that an attack could make America run in less than 24 hours. They’re learning something different today. The terrorists have not seen America running, they’ve seen America marching. They’ve seen the armies of liberation.
“We’ve adopted a new strategy for a new kind of war. We will not wait for known enemies to strike us again. We will strike them and their camps or caves or wherever they hide before they hit more of our cities and kill more of our citizens. We will do everything in our power to deny terrorists weapons of mass destruction before they can commit murder on an unimaginable scale.
“The work of our coalition in Iraq goes on because that country is now a point of testing in the war on terror. The remnants of Saddam’s regime are still dangerous, and terrorists are gathering in Iraq to undermine the advance of freedom. Al-Qaida and the other global terror networks recognize that the defeat of Saddam Hussein’s regime is a defeat for them. They know that a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would be a further defeat for their ideology of terror. They know that the spread of peace and hope in the Middle East would undermine the appeal of bitterness, resentment, and violence. And the more progress we make in Iraq, the more desperate the terrorists will become. Freedom is a threat to their way of life.
“Retreat in the face of terror would only invite further and bolder attacks. There will be no retreat….
“We also remember what this fight is about. Our military is confronting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other places so our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York, or St. Louis, or Los Angeles.
“This nation has been tested before — by the character of men and women like you, we’ve come through every trial.
“And so it is today. Our course is set. Our purpose is firm. No act of terrorists will weaken our resolve or alter their fate. Our only goal, our only option, is total victory in the war on terror. And this nation will press on to victory.”
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