updated 7/5/2008 3:59:11 PM ET 2008-07-05T19:59:11

President Bush, serving almost seven years as a wartime president, marked the nation's 232nd birthday by honoring the U.S. armed forces and celebrating the citizenship of new Americans.

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Bush spent July 4 at Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson's home in Virginia. Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, died at Monticello in 1826 on the 50th anniversary of the document's signing.

There, Bush witnessed a naturalization event in which more than 70 men and women from 30 countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Norway and Iraq raised their right hands to take the oath of U.S. citizenship.

"These new citizens are proof that there is no American race, just an American creed," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address. "In the United States, we believe in the rights and dignity of every person. We believe in equal justice, limited government and the rule of law. And we believe in personal responsibility and tolerance towards others. This creed of freedom and equality has lifted the lives of millions of Americans, whether citizens by birth or citizens by choice."

Bush also cited the sacrifice of U.S. troops, especially those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"These brave Americans make it possible for America to endure as a free society," Bush said. "So on this Fourth of July, we owe all those who wear the uniform of the United States a special debt of gratitude. And we thank their families for supporting them in this crucial time for our nation."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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