In commencement speech, president tells LSU grads America will finish work in Iraq

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

BATON ROUGE &045;&045; President Bush told Louisiana State University graduates Friday he will see America’s mission in Iraq to the end.

In his commencement address to more than 3,000 graduates, Bush spoke of countries that are trying to make America retreat and are finding &uot;Americans are not the running kind.&uot;

&uot;When this country makes a commitment,&uot; Bush said, &uot;we see it through.&uot;

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He pledged to &uot;complete the mission for which so many have served and sacrificed.&uot; Freedom, Bush said, is a gift.

And he promised a peaceful and democratic Iraq that would &uot;make America and the world more secure.&uot;

Bush also recognized LSU students and graduates who served in the military from World War II to Sept. 11 to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The bulk of Bush’s speech, however, was laden with humor and advice delivered in a thick Texas accent.

Bush, the first sitting president to deliver an LSU commencement address, received six standing ovations in less than one hour.

One man in the audience offered his support for Bush during a moment’s quiet, yelling &uot;You da man,&uot; to Bush while some showed their lack of support through silence.

After receiving his honorary degree for leading the United States through perilous times, Bush told graduates he wouldn’t lecture them.

&uot;I’ve a feeling you’re not in the mood for another one,&uot; he said.

Among Bush’s words of advice to the Class of 2004: &uot;Listen to your mother.&uot;

Bush also encouraged students to continue what he called the &uot;search for moral truth&uot; and advised graduates to live by their moral convictions.

Bush’s advice on landing a job after graduation: Be polite, respectful and on time.

&uot;It’s easy … to be punctual when armed men stop all the traffic in town for you,&uot; Bush said with a grin.