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 Home > News & Policies > March 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 19, 2004

Remarks by the President to the Press Pool After Visit with Soldiers and Families
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Washington, D.C.

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3:05 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: It is such an honor to come to a hospital like Walter Reed, for a couple of reasons. One is to meet the wounded who have made a decision to sacrifice for this nation's security and for freedom in the world. It is an honor to meet their parents or their wives, their children -- brave souls who support their loved one with all their heart.

After presenting him The Purple Heart, President George W. Bush salutes U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Santiago Frias of Bronx, N.Y., at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Friday, March 19, 2004. Sgt. Frias was injured while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Also pictured is Sgt. Frias' mother, Cristina DeJesus, left, and his wife, Nejil.  White House photo by Eric Draper It's an honor to be with the doctors and nurses of this fantastic facility who are doing unbelievable work in helping bring these people back on their feet, back into their communities.

One of the most important things for a Commander-in-Chief is to be able to say to a loved one, if your son or daughter or husband or wife gets injured, you'll get the best possible care, as quickly as possible. Every time I come to Walter Reed it confirms that which I know, which is: we're providing the very best -- the best care, the best compassion. We're moving these soldiers from the battlefield to hospitals as quickly as we can, so they can begin their rehab.

And it's fantastic to go upstairs. The spirit is strong. The attitudes are terrific. Several soldiers told me today, badly injured soldiers said, I want to get well quickly, and get back on their duty stations in Iraq; want to serve our nation.

It is so refreshing and great to be here. And I want to thank you, General, for your hospitality.

END 3:07 P.M. EST
President George W. Bush reads a baby book with U.S. Army Reservist First Lieutenant Brandan Mueller of Webster Groves, Mo., his wife Amanda, and their daughter Abigail at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Friday, March 19, 2004. Lt. Mueller was injured while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  White House photo by Eric Draper