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Vice President Praises Troops, Those Who Support Them

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2007 - Vice President Richard B. Cheney yesterday praised U.S. servicemembers waging the war on terror and their fellow Americans who support them as they put their lives on the line.

Vice President Dick Cheney

Vice President Richard B. Cheney delivers remarks to the annual convention of the Marine Corps League in Albuquerque, N.M., Aug. 6, 2007. He praised the military for its commitment to the nation's security and thanked league members for supporting them. White House photo by David Bohrer

"We're not a country that takes our military for granted," the vice president said during an address to the Marine Corps League's national convention in Albuquerque, N.M. "Even in the quietest of times, Americans have always understood that our men and women in uniform are the ones who assure stability and keep the peace."

That message resonates even more so when the country is threatened. "In wartime, we have daily reminders of the kind of courage and skill that protects us all and preserves freedom for the next generation," Cheney said.

He noted that the country's fighting men and women have faced "long deployments, setbacks and tough conditions -- tracking terrorists on frozen mountain ridges in Afghanistan to carrying heavy packs and 60 pounds of body armor in the 120-degree heat of the desert."

These hardships haven't deterred them one bit, he said. "They have soldiered on in every circumstance, and they have stuck together, as Americans always do."

Cheney noted that on July 4, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, witnessed 588 men and women serving in Iraq participate in what may have been the largest re-enlistment ceremony in history.

He said he was impressed, too, to read about Marine Cpl. Gareth Hawkins, who recently was injured in a roadside attack as he began his third deployment to Iraq. News reports about the incident note that Hawkins "asked to complete one piece of unfinished business before being rushed via ambulance to undergo surgery at the hospital at the local Marine base," Cheney told the group.

"He wanted to re-enlist for another four-year hitch. That's the kind of dedication that makes our whole nation proud," the vice president said.

He thanked members of the Marine Corps League who look out for their interests and support programs that benefit the troops, particularly those wounded on the battlefield, as well as their families.

The league's work is particularly important "as the nation confronts a continuing danger, as American soldiers and Marines slug it out against merciless enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

"Being Marines, you have valuable perspective on what our military is dealing with at this very hour," he said. "And because you're leaders in your communities, your help is very important as we remind fellow citizens of the nature of our broader war on terror, the stakes of our country and the need for a systematic and a decisive victory."

Cheney praised the league members for placing their country's interests above their own. "As Marines, you know what it means to put self-interest and personal convenience down at the bottom of the list, well behind the call to duty, the code of honor and the needs of the nation," he said. "So I thank you for your service."

"We're not a country that takes our military for granted," the vice president said during an address to the Marine Corps League's national convention in Albuquerque, N.M. "Even in the quietest of times, Americans have always understood that our men and women in uniform are the ones who assure stability and keep the peace."

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