- The Washington Times - Friday, December 22, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush presented Purple Hearts to wounded troops on Friday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, an annual holiday tradition of comforting soldiers that he began after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“We owe them all we can give them, not only for when they’re in harm’s way, but when they come home to help them adjust if they have wounds, or help them adjust after their time in service,” Bush said after visiting the wounded and presenting medals to 14 men and women in the Army, Marines and Air Force.

“Every time I come to Walter Reed, I am moved by the courage and bravery of the people I meet,” he said.

Bush and first lady Laura Bush visited 38 patients among those being treated there for injuries suffered mostly in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan. Seeing troops with amputated limbs and other serious wounds, the president asked them how they were feeling and if their care was adequate, and talked with family members and medical staff.

“It’s a remarkable experience to go through the hospital,” Bush said. “It’s remarkable because of the unbelievable compassion and care of the people who work at Walter Reed. And it’s also remarkable to me, these men and women who have volunteered to serve our country, who’ve received terrible wounds, but whose spirits are strong, their resolve is strong, and their dedication to our country remains strong.”

While at Walter Reed, the president and his wife briefly joined Girl Scouts and Brownies from Maryland and Virginia who were wrapping presents for families and children of wounded military personnel.

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