NEW YORK — Using the re-dedication of New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum as a Veterans Day backdrop, President George W. Bush used the occasion for a de-facto farewell to the men and women in the armed services.
"The truth is of the matter is, I will miss being the Commander-in-Chief of such a fabulous group of men and women — those who wear the uniform of the United States military," Bush said.
"Today, we send a clear message to all who have warn the uniform: Thank you for your courage, thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for standing up when your nation needed you."
Among those attending the event were New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressman Charles Rangel and New York Gov. David Patterson.
The Intrepid, a renowned World War II aircraft carrier, underwent a 2-year $120 million renovation and refurbishment. More than 55,000 sailors served aboard the warship until it was de-commissioned in March 1974, a tour of duty lasting more than 30-years.
During World War II, the Intrepid saw action off the coasts of Japan and Okinawa. In later years, NASA used the carrier for manned space shot recoveries.
Arriving in New York City in 1982, the museum has hosted more than 10 million visitors. These days, the museum currently averages 750,000 tourists every year and has become one of New York's most frequently visited landmarks.
Since arriving in New York, the Intrepid has also served as the focal point for the Big Apple's annual New York Harbor Fleet Week held every May in conjunction with Memorial Day celebrations.
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