"Today, the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with our military forces and their families.
"There is no heavier burden for a President and no more solemn choice for this nation than to send our brave men and women in uniform into battle.
"As Commander-in-Chief, President Bush has made that decision.
"As Americans, we stand behind our men and women in uniform. We are one team in one fight, and we stand together.
"As a Congress, charged by the United States Constitution with providing for the common defense, we pledge today to our armed forces and their families: you will have the support you need in the difficult and dangerous days ahead - both to win this war and to secure the peace.
"Two weeks ago, I was in the Persian Gulf, and I had the privilege of meeting some of the courageous forces now risking their lives in Iraq.
"Our men and women in uniform are an inspiration. They waved goodbye to their wives, husbands and children. And they endured daily hardships over many months to enhance Americas diplomatic leverage. They are focused on their mission, motivated by a profound love of country and prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.
"They are the best trained, the best equipped, and the best led force for peace the world has ever seen. And every American is eternally grateful to these patriots.
"Today, Americas sons and daughters in Iraq have answered the call of their country. We pray for the swift and successful disarmament of Iraq with the least possible loss of life among our forces and the civilians of Iraq. We pray for the safe return of our forces into the loving arms of their families. And when our troops come home, we will honor them as the heroes they are.
"May God bless our courageous forces and their brave families.
"May God bless the President of the United States.
"And may God bless America."
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