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Bush Vows to Continue Freedom Fight - 2001-11-11

President Bush marked Veterans Day in the United States by thanking those who have fought to defend the country and vowing to continue the fight against terrorism. Mr. Bush is in New York on the two month anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

In a speech to veterans at an armory in midtown Manhattan, President Bush said the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism will continue its fight "no matter how long it takes, because we fight for one thing and that is the freedom of our people and the freedom of people everywhere."

He said the al-Qaida terrorist group and Afghanistan's Taleban leadership made a serious mistake and they will pay a serious price.

The President said the nation owes so much to veterans who stepped forward to protect freedom, and he offered the American people's deep respect and enduring gratitude for their service. "Generations of our service men and women have not only fought for our country in the past, they have upheld our honorable traditions and represented our country with courage and honor," he said, adding that "wherever our military has gone they have brought pride to our people and hope to millions of others."

President Bush will take part later in an observance at the site of the World Trade Center. He also has bilateral meetings with the presidents of South Africa, Columbia, and Argentina.

Saturday, Mr. Bush made his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, saying the time for sympathy over September 11 has passed; the time for action has arrived. The President said the world is uniting for a long struggle against terrorism, going forward confident, determined and unafraid.

He warned those leaders who are allies of terrorists that they are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to justice. Mr. Bush said terrorists rely on the indifference of governments that turn a blind eye to the violence hoping it will not affect them.

If that violence is not stopped, Mr. Bush says it will only get worse because terrorists are searching for weapons of mass destruction. He said terrorists could be expected to use chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons the moment they are capable of doing so.