[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2001, Book II)]
[November 2, 2001]
[Pages 1342-1344]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Reception Honoring the United Service Organizations
November 2, 2001

    Good afternoon. Laura and I want to welcome you all to the White 
House. Welcome. Thanks for coming.
    I also want to thank all who work with the USO. It is important. 
It's important for our country, and it's important for the world. And I 
want to thank you for coming so we can honor such a fine, fine 
    I also want to thank Wayne Newton for being 
here. I appreciate so very much your leading the USO Celebrity Circle. I 
don't know whether or not you spent much time with Bob Hope before you took the assignment, but this job has got a 
60-year term limit to it. [Laughter]
    I want to thank Dick Myers and the 
other members of the Joint Chiefs who are here. I am proud of the job 
you all are doing. I want to thank the Secretary of the Navy, Gordon 
England, for coming, as well. I appreciate so 
very much Members of the United States Congress who are here. Senator 
Reed, thank you so very much. I don't know if 
Congressman Edwards is here--my Congressman. 
He's the Congressman for Crawford, Texas. Good to see you, sir. Answer 
my mail, will you? [Laughter]
    I appreciate Norm Mineta, who is here. 
Part of our battle against terrorism is to have a strong homefront and 
to make sure our airlines are secure. And we've got a really good man 
running the Department

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of Transportation to make sure that happens. Norm, I'm proud of the work 
you're doing. I'm proud of your leadership.
    I'm glad Joyce Rumsfeld is here. Thanks 
for coming, Joyce. Don is on his way 
overseas. And he, like the rest of the Pentagon, is doing a fabulous 
job, I mean a really good job, of defending our country. I look forward 
to getting him back. I'm looking forward to hearing how the trip went.
    John Gottschalk, thank you very much for 
taking on this assignment. And General Tilelli, thank you, as well. I appreciate so very much your being 
here. I want to thank Neil McCoy. I want to thank 
Rob Schneider and Jessica Simpson, as well. These are some of the great talent who are 
going to entertain our troops and bring smiles to the faces of people 
who are a long way away from home. It's a noble cause, and I appreciate 
you all doing this.
    Next week, when the tour begins, people are going to travel all 
around the globe. And there they will find young men and women of the 
highest caliber--of the highest caliber--some of whom will be facing 
extreme danger in the months to come, all of whom are proud to serve. In 
our war against terrorism, we can be thankful--all of us in America and, 
for that matter, all the people who have joined our vast coalition can 
be thankful that we are defended by men and women of such incredible 
character and such great courage.
    Our USO performers are all a part of a very special American 
institution. For more than six decades, the USO has brought a touch of 
home to Americans in distant places. Millions of veterans still cherish 
memories of USO shows, hospitality centers, and the good folks who have 
traveled thousands of miles to show their support. The USO brought more 
than entertainment to the troops.
    Here is what Harry Truman had to say. He said, ``The USO lets our 
service men and women know the people of the United States are behind 
them.'' Well, that's still true at the beginning of this century and for 
a very different kind of war, a war that is being fought on many fronts: 
a war that's being fought here in the homeland; a war that's being 
fought because of the relentless efforts of our law enforcement; a war 
that's being fought by a diplomatic front the likes of which the world 
has never seen before; a war that's being fought by cutting off funds to 
the evil ones; and a war that's being fought on the field of battle.
    We face an enemy--an enemy the likes of which we've never seen 
before, an enemy without a government, an enemy that's tried to hijack a 
great religion, an enemy that is so evil that those of us in America 
can't possibly comprehend why they do what they do. But it will be an 
enemy that will be defeated.
    This enemy will be defeated because this Nation is strong and this 
Nation is united. This enemy will be defeated because this Nation won't 
stand for evil. This enemy will be defeated because we understand we 
fight for our very freedoms. This enemy will be defeated because we 
understand that what we do today will determine whether our children and 
our grandchildren can grow up in a free society in a free world.
    This enemy will be defeated because across the world, our soldiers, 
marines and sailors, airmen, and coastguardsmen are the defenders of 
freedom. And once again, they will know that the American people stand 
squarely behind them.
    This is a war that has required our military to adjust. It is a 
different kind of war. And we have got a strategy that meets this 
different kind of war. After all, these days we've got a B-2 bomber 
pilot who boards his aircraft in Missouri, delivers his ordnance, and 
comes back to Missouri. And the men and women of today's armed services 
also are different from the past. Most are likely to be married. Most 
are likely to have young children.
    And the good news is, the USO has kept pace with these changes. It, 
too, has changed to reflect the nature of modern

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war and a modern military. And it, too, is directing its mission not 
just for those in the military but for their family members, as well.
    The USO leadership is as diverse and talented as ever. And I want to 
thank you all very much, and so do the American people. Some of the 
members of the Celebrity Circle Executive Committee, including Tom 
Hanks and Quincy Jones, 
could not be here. But tell them I thanked them, and tell them we 
appreciate their hard work.
    And for our troops abroad, USO's touch of home will mean even more--
even more--as we head toward Thanksgiving and eventually the holiday 
seasons of the winter. And you can tell them they are greatly needed 
where they are and they are greatly missed back home. And you can tell 
them the American people and the President are proud of their service.
    May God bless the USO, and may God bless America.

Note: The President spoke at 2:25 p.m. in the East Room at the White 
House. In his remarks, he referred to entertainers Wayne Newton, Bob 
Hope, Neil McCoy, Rob Schneider, Jessica Simpson, Tom Hanks, and Quincy 
Jones; Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld; 
John Gottschalk, chairman, USO World Board of Governors; and Gen. John 
H. Tilelli, Jr., USA (Ret.), president, USO.