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 Home > News & Policies > August 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 22, 2005

Fact Sheet: President Bush Honors America's Veterans and Soldiers

Today's Presidential Action:

Today, President Bush Addressed The Veterans Of Foreign Wars In Salt Lake City, Utah. The President honored the service and sacrifice of the veterans who defended America's freedom in the past, and he paid tribute to the heroes in our armed forces today who are advancing freedom in the War on Terror.

President Bush Honors American Veterans

  • America's Veterans Have Set A Brave Example For All And Deserve Our Thanks. America's veterans defended our country when America needed them most. They triumphed over brutal enemies, liberated continents, and defended our freedom and our lives. America's veterans have earned the thanks and support of a grateful Nation. We also remember those who did not return as well as those whose fate is unknown. We honor those families who have lost a loved one in the defense of freedom, and we will never stop searching until every missing member of the Armed Forces is accounted for.
  • President Bush Is Committed To Giving Veterans The Benefits They Have Earned. Since the President took office, the Administration has increased spending for veterans by 24 billion dollars - a total of 53 percent. In the President's first four years in office, spending for veterans increased twice as much as it did in the eight years of the previous administration.
    • Health Care For Veterans Is A Top Priority. The President recognizes the importance of health care to veterans and has made it a priority to improve the current system. Since taking office, President Bush has increased the VA medical-care budget by 51 percent, and these resources are being used to make real improvements for veterans. Over the past four years, total outpatient visits have increased by 11 million, and the number of prescriptions filled has increased by 18 million. Since January 2002, the backlog of disability claims has decreased by 20 percent.
    • VA Facilities Are Being Modernized And Expanded. More than 1.5 billion dollars has been spent modernizing and expanding VA facilities so that more veterans can get care closer to home.
    • President Bush Was The First President In Over 100 Years To Sign Concurrent Receipt Legislation. This law ensures today's veterans are eligible for the military retired pay and VA disability compensation. President Bush has also expanded grants to help homeless veterans find the shelter they deserve in the country whose freedom they fought for.

President Bush Has Outlined A Comprehensive Strategy To Win The War On Terror

  • Protecting The Homeland. President Bush has reformed our intelligence services to stay a step ahead of terrorists, while establishing new financial and diplomatic tools to cut off their financial support. Funding for homeland security programs has more than tripled since 2001, and more than $14 billion has been provided to support police officers, firefighters, and other first responders. The USA Patriot Act has enhanced information sharing between law enforcement and intelligence personnel, updated the law to adapt to changes in technology, and allowed the critical tools that have been used for years in cases against organized crime and drug dealers to be used in the fight against terrorists.
  • Fighting The Terrorists Abroad Before They Can Attack Us Here At Home. September 11th taught us that retreating within our borders will not keep us safe. That is why American men and women in uniform are taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere. Iraq is a central front in the War on Terror as terrorists there try to block the advance of freedom. As Iraqis forge a new constitution, Iraqi soldiers are increasing their capabilities to fight our common enemy. As the Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down.
  • Advancing Freedom To Ensure American Security. In the long run, victory in the War on Terror requires changing the conditions that give rise to violence and extremism. President Bush is determined to fight the terrorists' ideology of hate and fear by spreading hope and freedom to troubled regions of the world. New democratic governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon have encouraged democratic reformers in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In the heart of the Middle East, President Abbas has rejected violence and taken steps toward democratic reform, while Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli people took a courageous and painful step toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians by removing settlements in Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. As people in the Middle East and across the world advance peace and regain freedom, America will be more secure.
  • Like Past Threats To American Freedom, The War On Terror Has Demanded Great Sacrifice And Courage. Since September 11th, we have known that the War on Terror would require great sacrifice. We have lost 1,864 members of our Armed Forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 223 in Operation Enduring Freedom. Each of these men and women has left behind a grieving family and a heroic legacy of freedom for generations of Americans. And each of these Americans has brought the hope of freedom to millions who have not known it. We will honor their sacrifice by finishing the task they gave their lives for.
  • Veterans Understand That The Rise Of Liberty Is Critical To Our National Security. Veterans understand the power of freedom because they have witnessed it with their own eyes. They have seen that democracies do not fight each other, and that liberation leads to peace.

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