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Bush Telephones US Soldiers on Christmas Eve

President Bush telephoned men and women serving in the U.S. military on Christmas Eve. the president and Mrs. Bush are spending Christmas at the presidential retreat at Camp David.

President Bush telephoned ten soldiers on duty around the world during the holiday season.

Among those called were Staff Sergeant Eric Julian in Iraq, Private First Class Kenneth Vest in South Korea and Petty Officer Melissa Johnson in California. Mr. Bush told them he wanted to express his gratitude for their service and to wish them happy holidays.

In a written statement marking the Christmas season, the president said the men and women of the U.S. armed forces are in his thoughts and prayers, especially those serving far from home.

In Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, Mr. Bush said these soldiers are fighting enemies of freedom and protecting America from danger. By bringing liberty to the oppressed, the president says U.S. troops are defending the freedom and security of everyone.

President Bush assured them that all Americans are deeply grateful for the many sacrifices they are making.

The president delivers a Christmas radio address Saturday before Mrs. Bush and he leave for their Texas ranch on Sunday, where they will stay through the New Year.

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