| GEO World|
| I will miss being commander-in-chief: Bush|
| Updated at: 1101 PST, Wednesday, November 12, 2008|
NEW YORK: US President George W. Bush, marking his last Veterans Day in office Tuesday on a decommissioned aircraft carrier, said that he would miss being commander-in-chief of the US military.
"You know, oftentimes they ask me, 'What are you going to miss about the presidency?' And first reaction is I say, 'No traffic jams in New York,'" he joked aboard the retired USS Intrepid in New York harbor.
"The truth 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," said Bush, who leaves office January 20.
Bush stands to leave successor Barack Obama the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the global campaign against Islamist terrorism, which the president declared after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Obama marked the remembrance by echoing a time-honored presidential tradition, laying a wreath at a bronze memorial at Chicago's Soldier Field with Tammy Duckworth, a disabled Iraq war veteran who serves as director of the department of veterans affairs for Illinois.
The president-elect briefly bowed his head, saluted and walked away. Only a few dozen spectators were on hand.
In a statement, Obama pledged to keep "a sacred trust with all who have worn the uniform of the United States of America: that America will serve you as well as you have served your country."
"As your next commander-in-chief, I promise to work every single day to keep that sacred trust with all who have served," he said.
Bush spoke on the deck of the Intrepid, which houses a museum that bears its name and features generations of US military aircraft, as well as some from France, Israel, Italy and Russia, and one Concorde supersonic jet.
About 2,500 US veterans, 500 active duty personnel, US lawmakers and state and local officials were on hand at the museum, which reopened over the weekend for the first time after shutting September 31, 2006 for an overhaul.
The Intrepid was build in 1943, served in World War II and did three tours in the Vietnam War, then did a stint recovering NASA vehicles until it was finally retired in 1974. The museum opened in 1983.
Bush paid tribute to the ship's role after the September 11th attacks, when it served as a makeshift command center and base for rescue efforts, then praised the US military's role in the war on terrorism.
"The war on terror has required courage. It has required resolve, equal to what previous generations of Americans brought to the fields of Europe and the deep waters of the Pacific," he said.
"And I'm proud to report to my fellow citizens: Our Armed Forces, the Armed Forces of this generation, have showed up for the fight, and America is more secure for it," he said. At Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, US Vice President Dick Cheney noted that the celebration originally marked the end of World War I, and paid tribute to the last surviving US veteran of the conflict.
"Well over four million Americans served in that conflict, and all of them are now gone except for one. He is Frank Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia, who 90 years ago today was on active duty in the United States Army," said Cheney.
"Our last Doughboy is nearly 108 years old, and on this Veterans Day we're thinking of him with the greatest respect and pride," he said.
Cheney also defended the badly sullied international image of the United States, insisting: "The America that liberated Europe six decades ago is still an active, hopeful presence in the affairs of mankind."
"In a world of so many perils, from hunger and disease to political oppression to the spread of deadly technology, America remains the best hope of those who suffer and live in fear," he said.
"Our cause is liberty, justice, and peace, and millions breathe free today because of American soldiers who fought and sacrificed for that cause," said the vice president.