President Bush received a rousing welcome at Fort Campbell today. He came to thank soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division who’ve recently returned from Iraq.
President Bush reminded the estimated 10,000 soldiers who packed into an airplane hangar that he visited Fort Campbell just prior to another Thanksgiving…in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks.
MR. BUSH: “That November day, I said once again you have a rendezvous with destiny. And today, there is no doubt that you have held this motto. You have done your duty and you have defended the United States of America.”
Mr. Bush said 4,000 soldiers will return earlier than planned by the end of January. Spc. Ricky Washburn, who was in the crowd, is part of that bunch. His 15-month deployment ended 30-days early. He came home from Iraq last week.
WASHBURN: “The war has carried on so many years now that people are starting to have a ‘been there, done that kind of attitude.’ But this helps me reaffirm the belief that there are still people out here that care for us.”
Hundreds of soldiers are returning to Fort Campbell by the day, but still others are leaving. A brigade is deploying to Afghanistan now. Mr. Bush said they have the noble task of ensuring a young democracy never again becomes a safe-haven for those who want to plot and kill Americans.