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News >  Nation/World

Bush salutes troops, families

Juan-Carlos Rodriguez Associated Press

WASHINGTON – President Bush thanked U.S. service members and their families at a pre-taped Fourth of July celebration Sunday night at Ford’s Theatre here.

“We appreciate the military families who are with us tonight,” he said at the end of an evening of song and comedy. “It is not easy being left behind while a loved one goes to war. Our military families also serve our nation. And America is grateful for all of them and their support and sacrifice.”

Bush and his wife, Laura, had been entertained by a slew of show business stars, including the host, “blue collar” comedian Jeff Foxworthy, who started off by saying what a pleasure it was for him to be performing for the leader of the Free World.

“And her husband,” he added to a big laugh from the first lady, who made a protracted tour of the Middle East last month.

Foxworthy noted that the audience for the event, called “An American Celebration” and attended by many of Washington’s power players, was not his normal crowd.

“I don’t see any ballcaps or sleeves cut off,” he said, peering out at the likes of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Senate leaders Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Geena Davis and Hilary Duff were among a host of other performers that included an opera star, a magician, a former American Idol contestant and the Air Force Singing Sergeants.

One young performer, singer Jesse McCartney, asked the president if he could dedicate a song to the first lady. After receiving permission, McCartney sang “She’s No You” and continually looked down at the first lady, who mouthed, “Thank you,” when he had finished.

The gala was taped for ABC-TV and will air July 4.

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