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Bush Recalls Legacy of Former President Reagan at Air Force One Dedication


Citing the example of former President Ronald Reagan, President Bush says the United States will win the fight against terrorism. Mr. Bush spoke Friday in Simi Valley, California, where he dedicated a new pavilion at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. Mr. Bush also called on the international community to deal with a United Nations report that implicates Syrian officials in the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister.

Mr. Bush called on the United Nations to quickly deal with the report, which he says strongly suggests that Syrian officials were involved in killing former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Mr. Hariri and 20 others died in an explosion in Beirut February 14.

Mr. Bush said the report, which he called deeply disturbing, suggests the assassination could not have taken place without Syrian involvement. He said he has taken up the matter with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"I called secretary Rice this morning and instructed her to call upon the United Nations to convene a session as quickly as possible to deal with this very serious matter," the president said.

The president came to the Reagan Library to help dedicate a pavilion that holds the aircraft known as Air Force One. The Boeing 707 served Mr. Reagan through his two terms in the White House in the 1980s. Mr. Bush said the airplane took the former President on more than 200 journeys, carrying freedom's message.

"The plane brought President Reagan to London, where he declared to the world that freedom and democracy would leave communism on the ash-heap of history," he said.

Mr. Bush said the craft also took Mr. Reagan to a divided Berlin, where he challenged former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall that separated the democratic West from communist Eastern Europe. The wall was indeed torn down in 1989, and a piece is on display at the Library.

Mr. Bush says a similar struggle now pits freedom against Islamic radicalism, a militant ideology he says will fail.

"Because we have seen America face down brutal enemies before," he said. "We have confidence in our cause because we have seen the power of freedom overcome the dark ideologies of tyranny and terror."

Mr. Bush addressed an audience that included former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former officials of the Reagan administration, and crew members of the presidential aircraft.

Mrs. Reagan thanked them for their service, and extended a welcome to future visitors to the pavilion.

"On behalf of Ronnie and me, thank you and welcome aboard," she said.

The new pavilion at the Reagan Library also houses a presidential helicopter, known as Marine One, and one of Mr. Reagan's limousines. The display will open to the public Monday.

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