FORT BRAGG, N.C. – President Bush celebrated the nation’s birthday and his own Tuesday with a tribute to the heroism of U.S. forces fighting abroad and a fireworks-filled display with some of his oldest friends.
Bush flew to the Fort Bragg Army base to spend part of the holiday with troops from the 82nd Airborne Division and U.S. Special Operations Command. Appearing in an olive shirt drenched with sweat, Bush spoke at an outdoor pep rally, thanking the soldiers for their service.
While Bush celebrated the nation’s 230th birthday, others began celebrating his 60th.
After the speech, he stopped in a dining hall for lunch and photos with soldiers, serving himself salad, a piece of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese in the chow line.
The troops here serenaded the president with “Happy Birthday” and presented him with a white cake emblazoned with a frosted U.S. flag and two candles, “6” and “0.” Bush laughed and held it up for the cameras.
“Give me a knife and I’ll cut it! Anybody want a piece?” he called out.
Bush turns 60 on Thursday.
Bush then flew home to the first lady’s party for him Tuesday evening in the White House executive mansion.
After the party, Bush went out onto the Truman Balcony along with Laura Bush, their daughter Jenna, her boyfriend, Henry Hager, Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney The crowd gathered on the South Lawn to watch fireworks serenaded him with “Happy Birthday.”