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5/30/04 - MEMORIAL DAY 2004 - 2004-06-01


Today is Memorial Day in the United States -- a time when Americans honor those of their countrymen who have given their lives for freedom. Since 1775, Americans have fought the enemies of freedom in many places -- from the muddy fields of France to the frozen hills of Korea. President George W Bush says America's commitment is still being tested: "Two years after we liberated Afghanistan, our troops continue to face danger. Our coalition is leading aggressive raids to rout out surviving members of the Taleban and al-Qaida. The new Afghan army is adding to the stability of that country. Afghanistan still has challenges but that nation is a world away from the nightmare of the Taleban."

More than a year after a U.S.-led coalition drove Saddam Hussein from power, Americans continue to serve in Iraq. President Bush says terrorists there are trying to stop the emergence of democracy:

"These elements of Saddam's repressive regime and secret police have reorganized, rearmed, and adopted sophisticated terrorist tactics. . . . They hope to wear out the patience of Americans, our coalition, and Iraqis before the arrival of effective self-government and before Iraqis have the capability to defend their freedom."

Throughout their history, Americans have persevered. Sixty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Americans, together with troops from Britain and many other nations, were preparing for one of the most difficult and dangerous military operations in history. On June 6th, 1944, the allied landing in Nazi-German occupied France began. The Second World War would end in 1945 with the total defeat of Nazi Germany and its Axis partners - Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan.

Today, the U.S. and its allies face a new threat. President Bush said, "our terrorist enemies have a vision that guides and explains all their varied acts of murder. They seek to impose Taleban-like rule country by country across the greater Middle East." Americans, their friends and allies, said Mr. Bush, "will persevere and defeat this enemy and hold this hard-won ground for the realm of liberty."

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