Theodore's World: Join Us To Celebrate the United States of America's 232nd Birthday

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July 04, 2008

Join Us To Celebrate the United States of America's 232nd Birthday


Independence Day is a uniquely American holiday, celebrating not only the formation of a new country through the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, but the birth of a new culture as well.

Across America, military and civilian families and individuals alike will typically mark the day with picnics and cookouts celebrating American cuisine, singing patriotic songs and telling stories - perhaps even playing a pick-up baseball game - before bringing the day to a close by watching the spectacular flashes and flares of fireworks.

We owe the freedom we have to do this to our Veterans, our troops today and to our Founding Fathers. At Theodore's World blog we celebrate and thank our Veterans and troops every day. And today we give ithem a special thank you from all our hearts!!

Martina McBride - God Bless America



The fireworks display in Washington D.C. is the backdrop lighting Arlington National Cemetery.


President Bush Attends Ceremonial Groundbreaking of National Military Medical Center
National Naval Medical Center
Bethesda, Maryland

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Deputy Secretary England, for that generous introduction. I am so honored to be here at Bethesda National Naval Medical Center. This is often called the "President's Hospital." The reason why is this is where the President gets medical care. But I'm relieved today not to be on the treadmill, weighing in and getting a blood test. (Laughte from crowdr.) I also will tell you that the care that the President gets here is extraordinary.

I am so excited to be here for what is a grand occasion. This is a big deal, the breaking ground of a new joint medical facility for the men and women of our Armed Forces. Thank you all for joining us.

In a few years the current campus at Walter Reed will close, and many of its services will be relocated to the new complex here on the grounds at Bethesda. The two hospitals will be merged into one central campus, which will be called the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. At this new center, wounds will be healed, medical knowledge will be advanced, lives will be rebuilt. And those who wear our nation's uniform will be reminded that they have the enduring gratitude of the American people. I thank all who serve Walter Reed and Bethesda. I love being with the healers and caregivers, and incredibly compassionate people who makes our current facility successful and will make this new center a great success.

This morning, we gather in a place that was chosen by another President to be the site of a world-class naval hospital. When President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated Bethesda in the early years of World War II, he placed this facility on the front lines of what he called the "battle against disease, disability and death." The military "surgeons and nurses, scientists and technicians," he said, "are anonymous heroes of this war."

More than six decades later, our nation is engaged in a very different battle for our freedom. Yet our success still relies on these "anonymous heroes" -- the healers who care for the troops, those troops who keep the American people safe. In this new war, giving our troops the care they deserve requires cutting-edge medical facilities. And that is what this new medical center will provide.

Our troops and their families will no longer have to travel between Bethesda and Walter Reed to see multiple specialists. The new complex will also benefit from the good work of the Dole-Shalala Wounded Warriors Commission, which has issued recommendations for modernizing and improving our military health care system. Those recommendations will provide a strong foundation for effective, accountable care here at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Major Walter Reed was the Army doctor who found that Yellow Fever is transmitted by mosquitoes -- a discovery that has saved countless lives. The new institution bearing his name will continue his legacy of lifesaving research.

This new medical center will be a place of compassion. At Bethesda and Walter Reed, volunteers organize holiday celebration, poker nights and field trips. They distribute care packages from thousands of Americans who want to show their gratitude for our troops. Recently, schoolchildren from New York made pillows for soldiers at Walter Reed, and sent letters along with the gifts. The children wrote: "You are everyone's hero." "Thank you for fighting for our freedom." At this new center, the Americans who fight for our freedom will get the compassion and support they deserve.

This new medical center will be a place of courage. Our wounded warriors show that while the human body is fragile, the human spirit is strong. Anybody who has met the wounded at Walter Reed and Bethesda cannot help but be incredibly impressed by the courage and sacrifice of our troops.

Recently, I saw this strength in a young Air Force Staff Sergeant named Scott Lilley. Scott was serving in Iraq when an IED left him with a severe brain injury. I think it was last 4th of July that you came to the White House. Yes, I was one who felt like this guy had no chance. And yet, he -- the doctors here used state-of-the-art technology and aggressive treatment to get Scott better. Their perseverance paid off. And so has his. I welcomed he and his mom and dad to the Oval Office the other day. He was more eloquent than I was, which isn't all that hard. (Laughter from crowd .) He drives a car, he goes to baseball games, he loves to joke.

His doctor calls Scott's recovery "miraculous." And thanks to the extraordinary care he received at Bethesda, as well his own extraordinary resolve, he is now back on active duty in the Air Force. And we are glad you're here.

The greatest privilege of serving as President is to be the Commander-in-Chief of such an extraordinary group of men and women who wear our nation's uniform. And I'm pleased to help start construction on the new hospital that will continue to provide the excellent care our troops deserve. It is fitting that this new facility be built in a place called Bethesda, which draws its name from the Biblical pool of healing. It is there that a lame man was made to walk, and was dispatched with the words: "Behold, thou art made whole."

I pray that this will be the site of many miracles of healing -- where the lame will walk again, where broken bodies will be made whole, and where you'll always know that you're in our prayers and in the hearts of the American people.

May God bless you, and may God continue to bless our country.


President Bush talks with USMC Pfc. Charles Cozart of Arizona City, Ariz., Thursday, July 3, 2008, after awarding Cozart with a Purple Heart medal and citation Thursday, July 3, 2008 at the National Naval Medical Center. in Bethesda, Md. Joining the ceremony, background, are his father and mother, Kevin and Sharon Cozart, and his grandparents, Arthur and Betty Cozart.

President Bush with Army Staff Sgt. John Borders, left, and Marine Capt. Ray Baronie

President Bush shakes hands after awarding a Purple Heart medal to U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Jacob Brittain of Frankfort, Tenn.

President Bush shakes hands with U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Justin Rokohl of Orange Grove, Texas, Thursday, July 3, 2008, after awarding Rokohl with a Purple Heart and citation.


More Than 1,100 Troops in Iraq to Re-enlist in Independence Day Ceremony


More than 1,100 servicemembers stationed in Iraq will celebrate the nation’s birthday tomorrow by re-enlisting, the senior enlisted leader for Multinational Force Iraq said today.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin L. Hill said 1,157 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will re-enlist at the Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory, in Baghdad.

This may be the largest re-enlistment ceremony since the all-volunteer force began in 1973, Hill said via phone from Baghdad.

This is becoming an annual blockbuster event for the command. Last year, 588 servicemembers re-enlisted.

“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments we have made in security on the ground as well as proud of all of our great warriors for the work they are doing since they arrived in theater,” Hill said. “We recognize the sacrifices they make and the sacrifices their families and communities make as they serve in Iraq.”
These servicemembers know the cost of war and they are still re-enlisting, Hill said. Some serve in “the most austere conditions -- meaning they are in patrol bases and combat outposts,” he noted. Some of the re-enlisting servicemembers are in places where the troops “hot-bunk it” -- that is, they take turns using limited sleeping space -- and burn human waste because they lack plumbing. Others are based in more comfortable surroundings.
The vast majority of the servicemembers tell Hill and others that they are re-enlisting because “they are doing what they joined the military to do,” he said.
“If they joined to be a rifleman, they’re doing it in combat,” the sergeant major said. “If they joined to fix helicopters, they’re doing it and doing it in combat.”

Often in years past, he said, some warriors probably felt they weren’t doing what they joined the military to do, he said.

“Now, since we’ve been fighting this global war on terrorism … these warriors are doing what they joined to do,” he explained. “They can see the fruit of their labor and see the fruit of the sacrifices of those who have gone before them. It makes them feel good about what they are doing.”

The ceremony will be broadcast on the Pentagon Channel, Hill said. Multinational Force Iraq Commander Army Gen. David H. Petraeus will preside. Hill and Petraeus will speak at the ceremony, then Petraeus will administer the oath of enlistment.

A 50-gun salute will honor of the nation’s birthday, and then all will sing “God Bless America.” The ceremony will end with a medley of service songs.

All components of the military are represented in the ceremony. Officials said 738 active-duty soldiers, 188 National Guard soldiers, and 122 Army Reserve soldiers are re-enlisting, along with 54 Marines, 39 sailors and 16 airmen.

Soldiers in Iraq Give Reasons for Re-enlisting


“I knew I was going to stay. I had already made up my mind about four or five years ago,” said Army Staff Sgt. Dimas Estrada, an air and missile defense operations sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Mountain Division.

For Estrada, the chance to re-enlist while serving here was a significant event. He comes from a long line of Army veterans, but his father, who served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, had also re-enlisted here.

“I was going to re-enlist when I got back,” said Estrada, a Phoenix native, stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y. This is Estrada’s fourth time taking the enlistment oath, having already served 12 years.

With only three years of service thus far, Army Spc. Jeremy Giddings, of Watertown, N.Y., also had an important decision ahead of him.

“I’ve been considering re-enlisting for at least the past year,” said Giddings, a member of a battalion security detail for Headquarters and Support Company, Division Special Troops Battalion. “I realized I wanted to stay in and make a career out of it. Besides, you can’t beat the benefits,” he said with a smile.

Those benefits come with the possibility of deploying again, but Giddings said that had no effect on his decision.

“I expect at least two or three more after this,” he calmly said.

For Estrada, the possibility of future deployments was something he took into account.

“I had to really think about it at first,” he said. “I know I’m going to deploy again, but I don’t have much time left [until retirement]. It’s a good thing for my kids. My family, after all, is secure -- not just financially. I feel that my family is safer with me being in the military,” he added, mentioning the presence of military police at Fort Drum, where his family lives.

Soldiers have many reasons for re-enlisting and these reasons often differ whether they’re in the United States or in Iraq. But Giddings said his decision to re-enlist would have had the same outcome either way.

“This is just one of many [re-enlistments] to come,” he said, making it clear that no matter where he hangs his hat at night, he’s staying in the Army.

About 1,200 soldiers are re-enlisting in a mass ceremony at Al Faw Palace tomorrow, with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, swearing them in for their next term.

Posted by Wild Thing at July 4, 2008 04:55 AM


Happy 232nd Birthday Uncle Sam and to his Yankee Doodle Dandys. Freedom in the land of the free and the home of the brave is not free! Thank you God for such a blessing in living in the greatest country on the face of Your earth!!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at July 4, 2008 05:19 AM

To our beautiful lady on her 232nd birthday-Happy Birthday to you! You have given us tenfold and have made our lives a blessing. We are free because of our passionate ancestors who fought so hard for our lives. To the men and women who cared so deeply for those of us not yet born, you have our most heartfelt thanks.
God Bless this nation forever more.

Posted by: Lynn at July 4, 2008 05:30 AM

Happy 4th of July Independence Day to America and to everyone here at Theodore's World. May we always have the freedom to blog and comment and may we always have the men and women willing to fight for that freedom. America is a very young lady at only 232 yrs of age, but she has risen to the top since her debut.

I wish I was re-upping with those troops in Iraq and being sworn in by Gen Petraeus. What an honor that would be.

Wild Thing - Thank you for your patriotic blog, your charm and for the picture of the Cessna Bird Dog.

Posted by: TomR at July 4, 2008 05:55 AM

HOORAY For The RED WHITE and BLUE!! Thank GOD our soldiers are going to have a decent hospital to come home and recover in!! -GOD continues to love the USA, forgives the ignorant laws and politically correct nonsense and BS thrown at us over the years, and we are still surviving! Sending a great BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AMERICA 2008!!! GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!

Posted by: Cheryl Zee at July 4, 2008 09:58 AM

I am proud to be an American. That's "American", not hyphenated American. I am proud of my country. It is filled with freedoms, rights, opportunities, and, yes, responsibilities which together make the United States a great country and positive leader in the world of nations.

I am proud of the flag. I am proud of the Star Spangled Banner as our one and only National Anthem. I am proud of being a patriot and patriotism itself. I am proud of patriotic songs like God Bless America.

I am proud of the armed forces. I am proud of the police, firemen, and other law enforcement folks who protect us all. I am proud of every individual who takes advantage of the many opportunities available to them and gives something in return to help others.

I pity those who see the United States and it's people as evil. I pity those who want to change what is working as a country into something doomed to failure. I pity those who are not proud of their country, flag, and anything patriotic. Patriotism and nationalism are not dirty words and evil.

I am proud to be part of the patriotic Team Theodore and wish everyone a glorious July 4th as we celebrate the birth and life of our Nation, The founders left us a great legacy and it is our responsibility to preserve and protect it.

Posted by: Les at July 4, 2008 11:13 AM

Hey WT! Sorry I haven't been around for a while but I just had to come and see you on this sacred day. You did a WONDERFUL post just as I knew you would! You are a true patriot and I LOVE ya for it! May you have a blessed 4th of July and God Bless America!

Posted by: Seane-Anna at July 4, 2008 11:14 AM

As always, WT, you're Lady Liberty for us here. A permanent and heartfelt thanks from me and M for all you, and AOS, do and have done. The guys still remember the candy packages you sent them through us, too.

As long as there a folks like you, there will always be an America.

Posted by: Rhod at July 4, 2008 12:09 PM

Happy Independence Day to you, WT!!
Ain't it grand that we have had 232 of them.

Still the best country in the world ~

Posted by: yankeemom at July 4, 2008 12:14 PM

Happy Independence Day Chrissie.

Team Theodore -- Thank you!!!

For all you uber liberals out there, 232 years of patriots have protected this county, it's people and it's liberty. I refuse to let you give that away.

America ~ Love It or Leave it!!!

Posted by: Jack at July 4, 2008 12:57 PM

God Bless America

Posted by: sierrahome at July 4, 2008 03:50 PM

Amen, Jack, God Bless America, and Everybody have a safe 4th of July.

Posted by: Mark at July 4, 2008 10:20 PM

Thank you everyone for all you do and contribute.



Posted by: Wild Thing at July 4, 2008 11:56 PM

Happy 4th Mrs Thing....

Posted by: Robert at July 5, 2008 12:32 AM

Hi Robert thank you so much!!! We have a lot of family here from out of town this entire weekend. So I am a little late with my reply to you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 5, 2008 07:11 PM