President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush flew into NYC today for the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's re-dedication--and also for President Bush to receive the Intrepid Freedom Award.

Bush was jovial in his early remarks--he asked Rep. Anthony Weiner if he was ready for the lame-duck session, called Intrepid president Bill White "the Vanna White of the Intrepid" and said, "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"--but then turned serious to pay tribute to veterans, those currently serving in the armed forces and the history of Veterans Day. Naturally, he spoke at length about the Intrepid--and connected it to September 11:

After more than 30 years at sea, the Intrepid was permanently decommissioned. Despite her amazing history, she was destined to be scrapped. But thanks to the work of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, she found a home in New York City. Since 1982, she has been a museum that educates new generations of Americans about the high price that those who came before them paid for their freedom.

Even as a museum, the Intrepid still answered the call to service. I'm pretty certain most Americans don't understand what I'm about to tell you, but on September the 11th, when we came attacked just a few blocks from here, the Intrepid was used as an emergency command center. First responders launched helicopters from the decks. It became clear that this ship -- which helped defeat the great totalitarian threats of the 20th century -- was front and center in the opening moments of a new struggle against the forces of hatred and fear.

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. 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.

Here's a full transcript.