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Public Papers - 1991 - April

Remarks at the All-Star Salute to the Troops at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland


Good evening. [Applause] Thank you very much. [Applause] Thank you. [Applause] Thank you guys. [Applause] Please be seated. [Applause] Thank you all very, very much. [Applause] If that's the way you follow orders, how did we ever win the war? [Laughter]

What a pleasure it is to be here surrounded by stars. And I'm not just talking about the wonderful folks from Nashville and Hollywood and New York; I'm also talking about the real stars -- the men and women of Operation Desert Storm.

You know, it's just a few short weeks ago the fighting in the Persian Gulf ended and complete victory for the coalition forces. And I promised then that we would begin bringing Americans back as quickly as possible. And tonight I have the privilege of welcoming you home. And I'm delighted to see you here at Andrews Air Force Base. And Barbara and I came here to say congratulations to you and to all the men and women in our Armed Forces.

You know, America rediscovered itself during Desert Storm. First-rate military leaders executed a sound battle plan and delivered a swift victory. Men and women of all races and backgrounds worked together turning blueprints into triumphs. And while we freed a tiny nation, we also regained confidence in America's special decency, courage, compassion, and devotion to principle.

The cause of freedom demands much from free people. And millions of Americans sacrificed in millions of ways during Desert Storm. Our hearts go out to the friends and families of those who served but will never return. And to all those who gave their lives for this country, we will never forget you or what you have done.

I can't tell you how happy I am to be here with you tonight. Every single day I feel a special sense of joy and gratitude for you and all who served. And when you freed Kuwait, you uplifted the American spirit.

Thanks to you all, and may God bless each and every one of you. Good night, and thank you so much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:23 p.m. in Hangar 3 at the base. The salute was broadcast on CBS television.

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