Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Radio Address by President Bush to the Nation

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of the weekly radio address by President Bush:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, millions of Americans gather with loved ones for Christmas. This is a season of hope and joy. And it is an occasion to remember a humble birth that has helped shape the world for more than two thousand years.

One of the things that makes Christmas special is that it allows us to step back and take stock of what is truly meaningful in our lives. As years pass by, we often forget about the gifts and the parties, but we remember special moments with families and friends.

This year, as you spend time with those you love, I hope you'll also take time to remember the men and women of our armed forces. Every one of them has volunteered to serve our Nation. And with their incredible sacrifices, they preserve the peace and freedom that we celebrate during this season.

This tradition of service is as old as our Nation itself. In 1776, it looked as if America's first Christmas as an independent Nation might also be its last. After a series of crippling defeats by the British, George Washington's army was exhausted and disheartened. With their terms of service expiring in just a few weeks, many soldiers were planning on leaving the army. And it seemed that without a miracle, America's fight for freedom would be doomed.

That miracle took place on Christmas night, 1776. George Washington planned a surprise attack on the enemy forces camped across the Delaware River in Trenton, New Jersey. Under the cover of darkness, he led a few thousand soldiers across the icy waters in the midst of a driving snowstorm. Most generals would not have taken such a risk. But the commitment of Washington and his men was absolute. They headed into battle with a bold password -- "Victory or death."

In a matter of hours, victory was theirs. Morale immediately improved. And the American people began to believe that our Nation possessed the perseverance and courage to protect our liberty. The turnaround that began that night would end with the United States' triumph in the American Revolution -- and the permanent establishment of a free Nation.

Two hundred and thirty-two years have passed since George Washington crossed the Delaware. But on this Christmas, his legacy lives on in the men and women of the United States military. Some of them are spending this holiday helping defend emerging democracies like Iraq and Afghanistan. Others are spending it in lands where we defeated tyranny long ago, such as Germany or Japan. And some of them are spending it stateside, recovering in places like Bethesda National Naval Medical Center or Walter Reed.

Regardless of where they are, our men and women in uniform and the families who support them remind us of a clear lesson: Defending freedom is a full-time job. Our enemies do not take holidays. So the members of our armed forces stand ready to protect our freedom at any hour. For their service, they have the thanks of a grateful Nation -- this Christmas and always.

Thank you for listening.

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The American Revolution That Wouldn't Die

A Moment in American History

The most famous December event involving the American Revolution was Washington's Crossing of the Delaware. It was just six months after the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Revolution was just about lost. The British had invaded New York and completely routed Washington's Army, destroying much of it, and driving the Americans through New Jersey and acorss the Delaward into Pennsylvania.

The British stationed a force of German mecenaries called Hessians in Trenton, on the the New Jersey side of the Delaware, to watch the Americans. Washington decided then and there not to let the Revolution die.

On Christmas night, 1776, he led his ragged, tired, cold and hungry American army back across the Delaware, during a howling nor'easter, to take the Hessians by surprise. The Hessians had been celebrating Christmas and weren't exactly in fighting shape. Washington routed them, killing or capturing nearly a thousand men, and served noticed that the American army was not through yet.

In early 1777, Washington followed up on the victory at Trenton and pretty much took New Jersey back from the enemy. Washington's crossing is seen by many as the turning point of the American Revolution.

It was Christmas 1776, and it was a merry one for the United States.

Susan Sloan
James Waldrop Chapter DAR
Fayetteville, GA

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The National Infantry Museum Unveils Body Sculptures

/PRNewswire/ -- Today, the National Infantry Foundation will unveil a sample of its 50 life size sculptures at Brooklyn's StudioEIS, who for more than 30 years has been creating figures for museums around the world. These life-like figures will soon be placed in the new National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, scheduled to open March 20, 2009 in Columbus, Georgia.

Each of the museum's 50 life size sculptures is modeled after U.S. Army Soldiers who each had to go through a three-hour-long casting process. "The casting experience was awesome," said Capt. Matthew Makaryk. "The crew that did it was absolutely outstanding."

After the casts are removed, the pieces are assembled, sculpted, and painted. The figures are then dressed in costumes, which are impregnated with foam, given weapons, and treated with a resin coating. Thirty-eight of the body sculptures appear as Infantrymen, while 12 of the sculptures, which are dressed in original, artifact costumes, represent other historic figures. "As a former history teacher and now as an Infantryman I am impressed with the great lengths the foundation is going to portray accurate historical details," said Capt. Robert Peterson.

The 200-acre National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center site includes a parade field, a memorial walk of honor, and an authentic World War II Company Street. Inside the museum are galleries chock full of engaging exhibits with themes highlighting Infantry experiences in military training, Medal of Honor recipients, the OCS training experience, the contributions of Rangers and more. In addition, the museum's 300-seat IMAX Theater will bring giant screen movies to the Columbus, GA region for the first time.

Opening in March 2009, the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park, a 200-acre tract linking Columbus, Georgia, and Fort Benning, the Home of the Infantry, is the first world-class site to pay tribute to the U.S. Army Infantryman and those who fight alongside him. As the only interactive Army Museum in the U.S., the museum showcases the contributions of the Infantry Soldier in every war fought by the U.S. by offering immersive participation and engaging visitors in the unique experiences of the Infantry Soldier. The complex also includes the parade field, memorial walk of honor, authentic World War II Company Street and 3-D IMAX Theatre. For more information, visit http://www.nationalinfantrymuseum.com/.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

President Bush Discusses Defense Transformation at West Point

Eisenhower Hall
The United States Military Academy
West Point, New York

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Please be seated. Thank you, General, for your warm welcome. Thank you for inviting me here to West Point. I now know why you're so happy I'm here -- (laughter -- all classes were cancelled. (Applause.)

I had the honor of sitting next to the General and Judy during the game over the weekend. I am disappointed I could not bring the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with me. However, you just get the Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

This is my last visit to a military academy as President, so I thought I would exercise a certain prerogative of office one last time: I hereby absolve all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. As always, I always -- I leave it to General Hagenbeck to determine what "minor" means. (Laughter.)

I really am proud to be with you today. I appreciate General Mike Linnington, and his wife Brenda for meeting me. It turns out Brenda was a -- is a 1981 West Point graduate.

I appreciate being here with General Pat Finnegan and Joan. Today on Air Force One, Congressman John Shimkus, 1980 West Point graduate, and Congressman Geoff Davis, 1981 West Point graduate, flew down with me. It's my honor to let them fly on the "big bird." (Laughter.)

There are many honors that come with the presidency, but none higher than serving as Commander-in-Chief in the greatest Armed Forces on Earth. (Applause.) Every one of you is a volunteer. You came to this academy in a time of war, knowing all the risks that come with military service. I want to thank you for making the noble and selfless decision to serve our country. And I will always be grateful to the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States military.

As West Point cadets, you're part of a generation that has witnessed extraordinary change in the world. Two decades ago, the Cold War was nearing its end, and the Soviet Union was about to collapse. You were just beginning your lives. About the same time, another threat was quietly gathering. In hidden corners of the world, violent religious extremists were plotting ways to advance their radical aims and their grim ideology. We saw the results in a series of horrifying blows -- the truck bombing of the World Trade Center, the attack of Khobar Towers, the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the strike on the USS Cole.

For many years, America treated these attacks as isolated incidents -- and responded with limited measures. And then came September the 11th, 2001. In the space of a single morning we realized that we were facing a worldwide movement of fanatics pledged to our destruction. We saw that conditions of repression and despair on the other side of the world could bring suffering and death to our own streets.

As a result, America reshaped our approach to national security. Here at home, we hardened our defenses and created the Department of Homeland Security. We gave our national security professionals vital new tools like the Patriot Act and the ability to monitor terrorist communications. We reorganized our intelligence community to better meet the needs of war against these terrorists, including increasing the number of intelligence officers. We deployed aggressive financial measures to freeze their assets and to cut off their money. We launched diplomatic initiatives to pressure our adversaries and attract new partners to our cause.

We also made dramatic changes to both our military strategy and our -- the military itself. We resolved that we would not wait to be attacked again, and so we went on the offense against the terrorists overseas so we never had to face them here at home. We recognized that we needed strong partners at our side, so we helped strengthen the counterterrorism capabilities of our allies. We understood, as I said here at West Point in 2002, "if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long" -- so we made clear that hostile regimes sponsoring terror or pursuing weapons of mass destruction would be held to account.

We concluded that we are engaged in an ideological struggle, so we launched an effort to discredit the hateful vision of the extremists and advance the hopeful alternative of freedom. We saw the urgency of staying a step ahead of our enemies, so we transformed our military both to prevail on the battlefields of today and to meet the threats of tomorrow.

These changes will have a direct impact on your military careers. This morning, I'm going to give you a report on where we stand in each of these areas, and the challenges that lie ahead.

First, within weeks of September the 11th, our Armed Forces began taking the fight to the terrorists around the world -- and we have not stopped. From the Horn of Africa to the islands of Southeast Asia to wherever these thugs hide, we and our allies applied the full range of military and intelligence assets to keep unrelenting pressure on al Qaeda and its affiliates. We have severely weakened the terrorists. We've disrupted plots to attack our homeland. We have captured or killed hundreds of al Qaeda leaders and operatives in more than two dozen countries -- including the man who mastermind the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The terrorists continue to pose serious challenges, as the world saw in the terrible attack in Mumbai last month. Al Qaeda's top two leaders remain at large. Yet they are facing pressure so intense that the only way they can stay alive is to stay underground. The day will come, the day will come when they receive the justice they deserve. (Applause.)

Second, we've helped key partners and allies strengthen their capabilities in the fight against the terrorists. We've increased intelligence-sharing with friends and allies around the world. We've provided training and support to counterterrorism partners like the Philippines, and Indonesia, and Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. These partners have made enormous contributions in the war on terror. For example, Indonesia has crippled the terrorist group JI. Saudi Arabia has killed or captured hundreds of al Qaeda terrorists. And in Europe, security services have broken up terrorist cells in Germany, in Denmark, in Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

One of the most important challenges we will face, and you will face, in the years ahead is helping our partners assert control over ungoverned spaces. This problem is most pronounced in Pakistan, where areas along the Afghanistan border are home to Taliban and to al Qaeda fighters. The Pakistani government and people understand the threat, because they have been victims of terror themselves. They're working to enforce the law and fight terror in the border areas. And our government is providing strong support for these efforts. And at the same time, we have made it clear to Pakistan -- and to all our partners -- that we will do what is necessary to protect American troops and the American people.

Third, we have made clear that governments that sponsor terror are as guilty as the terrorists -- and will be held to account. After 9/11, we applied the doctrine to Afghanistan. We removed the Taliban from power. We shut down training camps where al Qaeda planned the attacks on our country. We liberated more than 25 million Afghans. Now America and our 25 NATO allies and 17 partner nations are standing with the Afghan people as they defend their free society. The enemy is determined, the terrain is harsh, and the battle is difficult. But our coalition will stay in this fight. We will not let the Taliban or al Qaeda return to power. And Afghanistan will never again be a safe haven for terrorists. (Applause.)

We also took a hard look at the danger posed by Iraq -- a country that combined support for terror, the development and the use of weapons of mass destruction, violence against its own people, aggression against its neighbors, hostility to the United States, and systematic violation of United Nations resolutions. After seeing the destruction of September the 11th, we concluded that America could not afford to allow a regime with such a threatening and violent record to remain in the heart of the Middle East. So we offered Saddam Hussein a final chance to peacefully resolve the issue. And when he refused, we acted with a coalition of nations to protect our people -- and liberated 25 million Iraqis.

The battle in Iraq has been longer and more difficult than expected. Foreign terrorists, former regime elements, and Iraqi insurgents -- often with outside support -- combined to drive up violence, and bring the country to the verge of chaos. So we adopted a new strategy, and rather than retreating, sent more troops into Baghdad in Iraq. And when the surge met its objective, we began to bring our troops home under a policy of return on success. Last week, Iraq approved two agreements that formalize diplomatic and economic and security ties with America -- and set a framework for the drawdown of American forces as the fight in Iraq nears a successful end.

Fourth, America recognized the only way to defeat the terrorists in the long run is to present an alternative to their hateful ideology. So when we overthrew the dictators in Afghanistan and Iraq, we refused to take the easy option and instill friendly strongmen in their place. Instead, we're doing the tough work of helping democratic societies emerge as examples for people all across the Middle East. We're pressing nations around the world -- including our friends -- to trust their people with greater freedom of speech, and worship, and assembly. We're advancing a broader vision of reform that includes economic prosperity, and quality health care and education, and vibrant civil societies, and women's rights.

The results of these efforts are unfolding slowly and unevenly, but there are encouraging signs. From Iraq and Afghanistan to Lebanon and Pakistan, voters defied the terrorists to cast their ballots in free elections. In places like Iraq's Anbar province, people have seen what life under the Taliban looks like -- and they decided they want no part it -- actually, it was life under al Qaeda looks like.

You know, mothers don't want to raise their child in a neighborhood where thugs run and where thugs brutalize people. People want to live in peace. People want to live in freedom. Muslims from Jordan and Turkey to India and Indonesia have seen their brothers and sisters massacred, and recoiled from the terrorists. And even within the jihadist ranks, religious scholars have begun to criticize al Qaeda and its brutal tactics. In these ideological rejections, we see the beginning of al Qaeda's ultimate demise -- because in the long run, the ideology of hatred and fear cannot possibly compete with the power of hope and freedom. (Applause.)

Finally, we are transforming our military for a new kind of war that we're fighting now, and for wars of tomorrow. This transformation was a top priority for the enterprising leader who served as my first Secretary of Defense -- Donald Rumsfeld. Today, because of his leadership and the leadership of Secretary Bob Gates, we have made our military better trained, better equipped, and better prepared to meet the threats facing America today, and tomorrow, and long in the future.

As part of our transformation effort, we are arming our troops with intelligence, and weapons, and training, and support they need to face an enemy that wages asymmetric battle. See, this enemy hides among the civilian population, and they use terror tactics like roadside bombs to attack our forces, to demoralize local population, and to try to shake the will of the American people.

To defeat this enemy, we have equipped our troops with real-time battlefield intelligence capabilities that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. In Iraq and Afghanistan, troops in the field have used advanced technologies like Global Positioning Systems to direct air strikes that take out the enemy while sparing innocent life. We've expanded America's arsenal of unmanned aerial vehicles from fewer than 170 when I took office to more than 6,000 today. We're arming Predator drones. We're using them to stay on the hunt against the terrorists who would do us harm.

We've expanded America's special operations forces. With more forces -- more of these forces on the battlefield, we can respond more quickly to actionable intelligence on the terrorists who are in hiding. Over the past eight years, we have more than doubled funding for special operators. We created the first-ever special operations command within the Marines. We have given the Special Operations Command the lead role in the global war against the terrorists.

In addition to these upgrades in our counterterrorism capabilities, we have placed a new focus on counterinsurgency. The Army has published a new counterinsurgency manual written by a distinguished graduate of this academy: General David Petraeus. The central objectives of this counterinsurgency strategy are to secure the population, and gain support of the people, and train local forces to take the responsibility on their own.

One of the reasons we're meeting these objectives in Iraq is the ability to rapidly deploy brigade combat teams. These teams can join the battle on short notice as organized and cohesive units. With these teams in the fight, our Army is better able to carry out its counterinsurgency objectives -- and better equipped to defeat the enemies we'll face as the 21st century unfolds.

Our counterinsurgency strategy also stresses the importance of following up security gains with real benefits in people's daily lives. To better meet that objective, we created Provincial Reconstruction Teams, or PRTs. These teams pair with military personnel civilian experts in areas like economics, and agriculture, and law enforcement, and education. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, these teams are helping local communities create jobs, and deliver basic services, and keep the terrorists from coming back. PRTs bring diplomats, aid workers, and other experts from across the government into the fight -- and we must expand them in the years to come.

To better institutionalize all the changes we've made in recent years, we have transformed the education and training our troops receive. We're taking the lessons we've learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, and teaching them at military academies and training centers across our country. For example, every branch of the military now receives the counterinsurgency training that was once reserved for special operations forces. Here at West Point, you've created a new Combating Terrorism Center that allows you to gain insights from the battles of today and apply them as you lead our military into the future.

In addition to making these changes to help our troops prevail in the war on terror, we've been transforming our military since early 2001 to confront other challenges that may emerge in the decades ahead. For example, we have begun the most sweeping transformation of America's global force posture since the end of World War II. We're shifting troops from Cold War garrisons in Europe and Asia so they can surge more rapidly to troubled spots around the world. We've established new military commands to meet challenges unique to Africa and to support our homeland.

We've invested more than a half a trillion dollars in research and development, so we can build even more advanced capabilities to protect America from the dangers of a new century. We're making our forces more joint and interoperable, so they can cooperate seamlessly across different services and with foreign partners. And to confront an emerging threat to our economy, our defense systems, and individual citizens, the federal government is cooperating closely with the private sector to improve security in cyberspace.

One of the most serious dangers facing our people is the threat of a rogue regime armed with ballistic missiles. In 2001, I announced withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. I did so because it constrained our ability to develop the technologies needed to defend ourselves against the threat of blackmail by rogue states. With these constraints removed, we have developed and deployed new defenses capable of protecting American cities from ballistic missile attack.

This system can now defend America against limited missile attacks from Northeast Asia. Concluded agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic to establish missile defense sites on their territories to help protect against ballistic missile attacks from the Middle East. Because we acted, America now has an initial capability to protect our people from a ballistic missile attack.

As we built new defenses against a missile attack, we also worked with Russia to make historic reductions in offensive nuclear weapons. When these reductions are complete, the total U.S. nuclear stockpile will be at its lowest level since the Eisenhower administration. These reductions are part of a new approach to strategic deterrence that relies on both nuclear and conventional strike forces, as well as strong defenses. We're investing in new technologies that will ensure the long-term safety and security and reliability and effectiveness of our nuclear deterrent. This approach sends a clear message to the world: We'll reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons while keeping America's strategic deterrent unchallenged.

With all the actions we've taken these past eight years, we've laid a solid foundation on which future Presidents and future military leaders can build. America's military -- America's military today is stronger, more agile, and better prepared to confront threats to our people than it was eight years ago. In the years ahead, our nation must continue developing the capabilities to take the fight to our enemies across the world. We must stay on the offensive. We must be determined and we must be relentless to do our duty to protect the American people from harm. (Applause.)

We must stand by the friends and allies who are making tough decisions and taking risks to defeat the terrorists. We must keep up the pressure on regimes that sponsor terror and pursue weapons of mass destruction. We must continue to support dissidents and reformers who are speaking out against extremism and in favor of liberty. We must continue transforming our Armed Forces so that the next generation inherits a military that is capable of keeping the American people safe and advancing the cause of peace. And above all, we must always ensure that our troops have the funds and resources they need to do their jobs, and that their families receive the full support they deserve. (Applause.)

I have great confidence in the future, because I have confidence in you all. Ultimately, the security of our nation depends on the courage of those who wear the uniform. I see that courage in all of you. I thank you for your patriotism. I thank you for your devotion to duty. May God bless you in all your endeavors. May God bless your families. And may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Establishment of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

Beginning at Pearl Harbor with the day of infamy that saw the sinking of the USS ARIZONA and ending on the deck of the USS MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay, many of the key battles of World War II were waged on and near American shores and throughout the Pacific. We must always remember the debt we owe to the members of the Greatest Generation for our liberty. Their gift is an enduring peace that transformed enemies into steadfast allies in the cause of democracy and freedom around the globe.

Americans will never forget the harrowing sacrifices made in the Pacific by soldiers and civilians that began at dawn on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. The surprise attack killed more than 2,000 American military personnel and dozens of civilians and thrust the United States fully into World War II.

America responded and mobilized our forces to fight side-by-side with our allies in the European, Atlantic, and Pacific theaters. The United States Navy engaged in epic sea battles, such as Midway, and our Armed Forces fought extraordinary land battles for the possession of occupied islands. These battles led to significant loss of life for both sides, as well as for the island's native peoples. Battlegrounds such as Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Guam, Peleliu, the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa are remembered for the heroic sacrifices and valor displayed there.

The conflict raged as far north as the Alaskan territory. The United States ultimately won the encounter in the Aleutian Island chain but not without protracted and costly battles.

There were also sacrifices on the home front. Tens of millions of Americans rallied to support the war effort, often at great personal cost. Men and women of all backgrounds were called upon as industrial workers, volunteers, and civil servants. Many Americans valiantly supported the war effort even as they struggled for their own civil rights.

In commemoration of this pivotal period in our Nation's history, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument adds nine historic sites to our national heritage of monuments and memorials representing various aspects of the war in the Pacific.

Five of those sites are in the Pearl Harbor area, which is the home of both the USS ARIZONA and the USS MISSOURI -- milestones of the Pacific campaign that mark the beginning and the end of the war. The sites in this area include: the USS ARIZONA Memorial and Visitor Center, the USS UTAH Memorial, the USS OKLAHOMA Memorial, the six Chief Petty Officer Bungalows on Ford Island, and mooring quays F6, F7, and F8, which constituted part of Battleship Row. The USS ARIZONA and USS UTAH vessels will not be designated as part of the national monument, but instead will be retained by the Department of Defense (through the Department of the Navy) as the final resting place for those entombed there.

Three sites are located in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. The first is the crash site of a Consolidated B-24D Liberator bomber -- an aircraft of a type that played a highly significant role in World War II -- located on Atka Island. The second is the site of Imperial Japan's occupation of Kiska Island, beginning in June 1942, which marks the northern limit of Imperial Japan's expansion in the Pacific. The Kiska site includes historic relics such as Imperial Japanese coastal and antiaircraft defenses, camps, roads, an airfield, a submarine base, a seaplane base, and other installations, as well as the remains of Allied defenses, including runway facilities and gun batteries.

The third Aleutian designation is on Attu Island, the site of the only land battle fought in North America during World War II. It still retains the scars of the battle: thousands of shell and bomb craters in the tundra; Japanese trenches, foxholes, and gun encampments; American ammunition magazines and dumps; and spent cartridges, shrapnel, and shells located at the scenes of heavy fighting. Attu later served as a base for bombing missions against Japanese holdings.

The last of the nine designations will bring increased understanding of the high price paid by some Americans on the home front. The Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark and nearby Camp Tule Lake in California were both used to house Japanese-Americans relocated from the west coast of the United States. They encompass the original segregation center's stockade, the War Relocation Authority Motor Pool, the Post Engineer's Yard and Motor Pool, a small part of the Military Police Compound, several historic structures used by internees and prisoners of war at Camp Tule Lake, and the sprawling landscape that forms the historic setting.

WHEREAS much of the Federal property within the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is easily accessible to visitors from around the world;

WHEREAS the Secretary of the Interior should be authorized and directed to interpret the broader story of World War II in the Pacific in partnership with the Department of Defense, the States of Hawaii, Alaska, and California, and other governmental and non-profit organizations;

WHEREAS the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument will promote understanding of related resources, encourage continuing research, present interpretive opportunities and programs for visitors to better understand and honor the sacrifices borne by the Greatest Generation, and tell the story from Pearl Harbor to Peace;

WHEREAS section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431) (the "Antiquities Act") authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected;

WHEREAS it is in the public interest to preserve the areas described above and on the attached maps as the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that there are hereby set apart and reserved as the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument for the purpose of protecting the objects described above, all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States within the boundaries described on the accompanying maps, which are attached and form a part of this proclamation. The Federal lands and interests in land reserved consist of approximately 6,310 acres, which is the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.

All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of this monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale, leasing, or other disposition under the public land laws, including, but not limited to, withdrawal from location, entry, and patent under mining laws, and from disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing.

Management of the National Monument

The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument through the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, to implement the purposes of this proclamation. The National Park Service shall generally administer the national monument, except that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shall administer the portions of the national monument that are within a national wildlife refuge. The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may prepare an agreement to share, consistent with applicable laws, whatever resources are necessary to properly manage the monument.

For the purposes of preserving, interpreting, and enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the national monument and the broader story of World War II in the Pacific, the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall prepare a management plan within 3 years of the date of this proclamation.

The Secretary of the Interior shall have management responsibility for the monument sites and facilities in Hawaii within the boundaries designated on the accompanying maps to the extent necessary to implement this proclamation, including the responsibility to maintain and repair the Chief Petty Officer Bungalows and other monument facilities. The Department of Defense may retain the authority to control access to those sites. The Department of the Interior through the National Park Service and the Department of the Navy may execute an agreement to provide for the operational needs and responsibilities of each Department in implementing this proclamation.

Armed Forces Actions

1. The prohibitions required by this proclamation shall not restrict activities and exercises of the Armed Forces (including those carried out by the United States Coast Guard).

2. All activities and exercises of the Armed Forces shall be carried out in a manner that avoids, to the extent practicable and consistent with operational requirements, adverse impacts on monument resources and qualities.

3. In the event of threatened or actual destruction of, loss of, or injury to a monument resource or quality resulting from an incident, including but not limited to spills and groundings, caused by a component of the Department of Defense or any other Federal agency, the cognizant component shall promptly coordinate with the Secretary of the Interior for the purpose of taking appropriate actions to respond to and mitigate the harm and, if possible, restore or replace the monument resource or quality.

4. Nothing in this proclamation or any regulation implementing it shall limit or otherwise affect the Armed Forces' discretion to use, maintain, improve, or manage any real property under the administrative control of a Military Department or otherwise limit the availability of such real property for military mission purposes.

The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing rights.

Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the national monument shall be the dominant reservation.

Nothing in this proclamation shall alter the authority of any Federal agency to take action in the monument area where otherwise authorized under applicable legal authorities, except as provided by this proclamation.

Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and not to locate or settle upon any lands thereof.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Flags to Fly Half-Staff in Commemoration of Pearl Harbor Attack

/24-7-- On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, December 7, 1941 initially seemed liked any other sunny day. The US forces stationed there were awake and ready to begin their daily grind. At 6:00 a.m. however, over the horizon, six Japanese carriers were already in the midst of launching the first deadly wave of surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor. A total of 181 Japanese Air Force planes began bombing American ships and military installations on Oahu by around 8:00 a.m., inflicting heavy damage on naval air bases at Ford Island and Kaneohe Bay, the Marine airfield at Ewa and the Army Air Corps air fields at Wheeler, Bellows and Hickam, as well on the ships moored in Pearl Harbor.

The attack on Pearl Harbor lasted two hours. A total of 320 aircraft were severely damaged, along with twenty-one navy ships. Among the sunken navy ships were the USS West Virginia, The USS Oklahoma and the USS Arizona. The attack also disabled the US Pacific Fleet, and led the United States into World War II. The news of the deadly attacks on Pearl Harbor sent shockwaves across the whole United States, and emboldened every able-bodied American to volunteer into the U.S. Armed Forces. It also united the country behind President Franklin Roosevelt, and completely erased the country's isolationist sentiments.

According to historians, The Pacific Theater in World War II was fought over the largest area of any major conflict in history, and raged over an expanse of land and sea covering an area half the planet's size. The many battles and firefights that raged on each island and beach here evoke stirring images of courage and resilience. History now has names like Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Attu, Midway and Peleliu, Iwo Jima and others etched in its pantheon, allowing future generations to remember the heavy sacrifices made by many to ensure that we remain free from tyranny.

On December 7, all US flags at federal, state and public facilities in the United States will be flown at half-staff, in commemoration of the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. This historic day will allow all Americans to remember the infamous attack by Japanese forces on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, as well as celebrate the valor and dedication shown by a brave generation of Americans during the World War II. December 7, 1941, according to US Navy Chief Admiral Michael G. Mullen, was "not just a day of infamy, but in many ways it was a day of discovery for America and for the world. It changed us, it hurt us, but it also made us stronger, as did September 11."

The US Congress, according to Public Law 103 308, has officially designated the seventh day of December as the "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day." On this solemn occasion, the nation pays homage to the perseverance and heroism shown by many in the face of extremely overwhelming odds. This holiday allows the nation to commemorate the sacrifices made by the valiant members of the US Armed Forces, as well as to celebrate the victory over the forces of fascism, oppression and isolationism. This day also bodes well for igniting the patriotic spirit in each of us.

Matt Knowlan of www.aflag.com, an expert on flag etiquette further adds that the US flag should be displayed, and waved as well, during national holidays, and also be displayed daily on or near the main building of each public institution. It should also be displayed in or near every polling place on election days, as well as on or near schools during school days.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Veteran's Christmas Tree Ornaments Available in Fayetteville

A Veteran's Christmas Tree is being erected in Fayetteville, Georgia, in front of the American Legion on Main Street. Members of the Frankie Lyle Chapter of United Daughters of the Confederacy are selling ornaments which will be personalized for American veterans. Veterans may be from the time of the American Revolution up to today.

The tree, decorated in red, white and blue, was donated by the Fayette County Civitan Club. As each individualized ornament is made, a prayer will be said for the veteran and for our country.

Each ornament is $10 and can be ordered from:

Frankie Lyle Chapter No. 2074
Mrs. Linda Robinson
Recorder of Military Service Awards
250 Newhaven Drive
Fayetteville, GA 30215.

Please include the veteran's name, rank, branch of service, and dates served.

If desired, arrangements can be made for your patriot's ornament to be picked up after Christmas.

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