What US leadership used to look like: Remembering George W. Bush’s 2003 surprise Thanksgiving visit to troops


Bush in Iraq
Photo source: YouTube video screengrab.

Believe it or not, there was a time – not so long ago – when U.S. Presidents beamed with patriotism and appreciation for America’s military.

Love him or not, it would be hard to argue that George W. Bush isn’t one of those presidents.

Personally, I remember the night well, when the then-commander-in-chief surprised our troops in Iraq in 2003.

Even my liberal relatives, who were enjoying Thanksgiving with my immediate (and conservative) family, were admittedly touched by President Bush’s gesture.

Bush joked with our troops as if he was only looking for a place to get a warm meal before conceding the real purpose for his visit.

“I can’t think of finer folks to have Thanksgiving dinner with than you all,” Bush said. “We’re proud of you.”

It was clear the troops were ecstatic and moved to be remembered – especially by the commander-in-chief.

Iraqi troops
Photo source: YouTube video screengrab.

And while it’s heart wrenching today to hear President Bush’s speech filled with hope for the Iraqi people, his optimism and love for our military can’t be mistaken.

On a smaller scale, the moment united my politically “diverse” family within the shared commonality of our proud American spirit.  But I’m certain we weren’t alone.

Enjoy re-watching Bush’s speech during his surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, 2003:

Below shows the emotional clip when troops first found out Bush was in the house!


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