By: Mari-Ela David
HONOLULU (KHNL) - President Bush was on his way back to Washington D.C. Saturday after making a stop in Honolulu.
The president met with Hawaii's leaders, military commanders, and our troops during his three-and-a-half-hour stay.
Mister Bush's visit comes on the brink of Congress's upcoming policy debate over Iraq.
Based on the statements he made during his stopover in Hawaii, the President's stance on the war hasn't wavered.
From the moment Air Force One touched down at Hickam Air Force Base to the time the plane took off, a warm aloha for President Bush - including from an Oahu woman Mister Bush honored for her volunteer work at Lanakila Senior Center.
"Ooh what a thrill! Oh my God, what an honor! This whole event has been an honor!" says Carol Tom.
Before departing, the President greeted Hawaii-based troops, including 33 wounded soldiers he spent time with in private.
"Every time I have the opportunity to meet people who have sacrificed on the behalf of the security of the country, I'm amazed at their spirit and resolve," he said.
Mister Bush also met with Hawaii's dignitaries, including Admiral Timothy Keating, Head of the United States Pacific Command, and Governor Linda Lingle.
In the midst of his visit to Hawaii, President Bush delivered some strong words.
"One thing is for certain, now is the time to do the hard work in order to make sure that we can have a peaceful world. Now is the time to deny the radicals and extremists a safe haven and now is the time to advance democracy in the heart of the Middle East," said President Bush.
The President says meeting Hawaii's military has only strengthened his belief the U.S. involvement in Iraq is necessary to secure peace.
On Monday, Chief U.S. Commander General David Petraeus will deliver a progress report on the Iraq war.