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President Bush, First Lady Address ServiceNation Summit

President Bush addressed the ServiceNation Summit this morning at the Hilton Hotel in New York and reiterated his call for Americans to give two years or 4,000 hours of service over the course of their lives to help those in need. He was speaking by video to 600 invited members from the 110 organizations supporting the ServiceNation initiative.

First lady Laura Bush followed, starting off with a quote from Psalm 27: “I have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

“That’s what we saw after 9/11, and we still see that today,” she said. The first lady elaborated on the success of administration programs, mentioning the USA Freedom Corps, which connects Americans to volunteer opportunities; Volunteers for Prosperity, which sends skilled Americans to work in the developing world; and Citizen Corps, which trains volunteers to respond to disasters.

The opening program featured more than a dozen speakers, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; AARP president Jennie Chin Hansen; Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; John Bridgeland, president and CEO of Civic Enterprises; and Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corp.

ServiceNation Summit is supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corp. and presented byTime,AARP and Target.

Cathie Gandel is a freelance writer based in New York.

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