*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thank you, General [Michael] Hagee [USMC, Ret.] and thank you for your devotion to this remarkable repository of our nation's history.
When he wrote "Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue" I suspect Admiral Nimitz was thinking of fellow Texans like First Lieutenant Jack Lummus, who was born in Ellis County and educated at Baylor before posthumously being awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery on those black, volcanic sands.
That valor was seen again and again in the Pacific Theater as our nation showed the full measure of its character and repelled tyranny with every resource at its disposal, both material and human.
It is an honor to be here today with veterans of that conflict, who left family farms, factories and college dormitories to pour out their youth in the fiery chaos of battle, and returned to build a free nation that still inspires the world.
There is perhaps no one who better exemplifies that contribution than the man for whom this museum expansion is named, President George Bush.
Sir, in the finest traditions of our nation, you devoted your adult life to the service of our country, from the cockpit of a TBM Avenger to the White House.
You may not have been born in Texas, but we are all proud that you adopted our beloved state as your own, and continue today to set an example of service for the generations that follow.
To you and your fellow veterans of World War II, I say thank you.
Your collective example of selfless devotion inspires us yet today, as we savor the freedoms you won for us and support our troops who, again, defend our way of life on two battle fronts.
As we gather, there are thousands of Texans serving overseas in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, continuing your generation's proud tradition of heading to the front lines, wherever and whenever freedom is threatened.
I have had the privilege of visiting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and returned home each time more convinced that our freedoms & future are in good hands because your tradition of selfless service is alive and well in the men and women of our armed forces.
It is my hope and prayer that every Texan, no, every American will have the opportunity to visit this museum and revel in its tales of bravery, honor and sacrifice.
As we honor the memory of the unprecedented undertaking known as the War in the Pacific, I am reminded of words uttered by Admiral Nimitz after accepting Japan's final surrender in Tokyo Bay.
"They fought together as brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side...To them, we have a solemn obligation -- the obligation to ensure that their sacrifice will help make this a better and safer world in which to live."
Thanks to our veterans, our world is better and safer.
Thanks to this museum, we will never forget them, or the lessons they have taught us with their lives.
May God bless you all, because, through you, He has blessed the great state of Texas.