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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Was Amazed by Red Square

U.S. President George W. Bush said he was amazed to sit in Red Square this week and celebrate the end of World War II in Europe next to President Vladimir Putin.

Bush and Putin palled around Moscow together during Putin's grand V-E celebrations, trying to minimize the backstage sniping between their two camps. Bush continued to put the best face on their relationship on Wednesday as he welcomed members of Congress to the White House for a personal debriefing from his four-nation trip.

"Russia is not our enemy," Bush said. "Russia is our friend, and it's important that we work together to achieve peace. Obviously, we have a difference of opinion on certain issues, but we don't have a difference of opinion on working together for peace."

Even though there were dozens of world leaders in Moscow this week for the celebrations, Putin singled out Bush for a private dinner Sunday night and reserved the seat next to him for Bush during the parade. But Bush annoyed Putin by also making stops in Latvia and Georgia, which have had testy relations with Russia.

Bush said he was inspired by meeting so many people in Latvia and Georgia who are excited by their newfound freedoms. He said his wife especially enjoyed meeting some of the World War II veterans who fought with her father during a visit to an American military cemetery in the Netherlands.

But he seemed particularly awed by the celebration in Moscow.

"Sitting in Red Square, honoring the veterans of World War II was an amazing event," Bush said. "I remember as a kid watching the missiles parade through Red Square, and here I sat as the president of the United States in Red Square paying homage to people who died to defeat Nazism.

"The lessons of World War II is to honor the sacrifice of those who helped us keep the peace and to remember that the United States is always the beacon of freedom, and that when we find people living under tyranny, we got to work to free them in order to make the world more peaceful," he said.