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RESPONSE TO TERROR | FIRST FAMILY

Bush Family Spends Thanksgiving at Camp David

Holiday: At retreat, the president consults with top aides on the anti-terrorism war.

November 23, 2001|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Like millions of other Americans, President Bush spent the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday surrounded by family and friends. Unlike any other American, he also had a war to run.

At Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, the commander in chief consulted with top aides on the U.S.-led anti-terrorism war as well as the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, a White House official said.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Bush counselor Karen Hughes were among those at the rustic woodland hideaway a short helicopter ride from Washington.

But, after what Bush called "hard months" since the Sept. 11 attacks in which more than 3,900 people were killed, he, his family and their guests also enjoyed some rest and recreation, taking long walks, watching movies and sitting down to a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

"We're really looking forward to it," First Lady Laura Bush told Reuters in an interview this week. "This Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving, we're most thankful for our children."

Barbara and Jenna, the Bushes' twin daughters, turn 20 on Sunday and will celebrate with friends at Camp David. Among those at the birthday party will be their grandparents, former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara.

Laura Bush said that since Sept. 11 she and her husband talk to their daughters, who are second-year college students, more often.

"I think that's because they also, like every American, focus on how important our family members are," Mrs. Bush said. "I think that's what we really learned on Sept. 11, how important it is to hold our loved ones close."

The menu at Camp David remained a mystery. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday there were no plans to release a list of the dishes served.

Whatever they're eating, Mrs. Bush probably didn't cook it. And for that, as the first lady revealed during a recent appearance at the National Press Club, her family is thankful.

During an appearance Wednesday at Ft. Campbell, Ky., Bush paid a special Thanksgiving tribute to the U.S. military's contribution since the action began on Oct. 7, saying, "Thanks to you, every nation is seeing what will happen if you cast your lot with the terrorists. Thanks to you, there is less fear in the world, and more freedom, and more hope, and a better chance for peace."

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