Weekly Address: Celebrating Christmas and Honoring Those Who Serve

President Obama:
Hello everyone,
and Merry Christmas. As you and your families gather
to celebrate the holidays, we wanted to take a moment to send
greetings from our family — from me, from Michelle, from
Malia, Sasha — and from Bo. First Lady:
This is our first
Christmas in the White House, and we are so grateful for
this extraordinary experience. Not far from here,
in the Blue Room, is the official White
House Christmas Tree. It’s an 18-foot tall Douglas-fir
from West Virginia and it’s decorated with hundreds of
ornaments designed by people and children from all
over the country. Each one is a reminder of
the traditions we cherish as Americans and the blessings
we’re thankful for this holiday season. President Obama:
That’s right, especially
as we continue to recover from an extraordinary recession
that still has so many Americans hurting: parents without
a job who struggled to put presents under their Christmas
tree; families and neighbors who’ve seen their home foreclosed; folks wondering what the New Year will bring. But even in these tough times,
there’s still so much to celebrate this Christmas. A message of peace
and brotherhood, that continues to inspire more
than 2,000 years after Jesus’ birth. The love of family and friends. The bonds of
community and country. And the character and courage of
our men and women in uniform who are far from home
for the holidays, away from their families,
risking their lives to protect ours. To all our soldiers,
sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen —
I have no greater honor than serving as your
Commander in Chief. I’ve been awed by
your selfless spirit, your eagerness to serve —
at the Naval Academy and West Point. I’ve been energized by your
dedication to duty — from Baghdad to the Korean Peninsula. Michelle and I have been moved
by your determination — wounded warriors at Walter Reed and
Bethesda, fighting to recover, to get back to your units. And I’ve been
humbled, profoundly, by patriots who have made the
ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. In flag-draped caskets
coming home at Dover. In the quiet solitude
of Arlington. And after years of
multiple tours of duty, as you carry on with our
missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, your service, your
readiness to make that same sacrifice, is an inspiration
to us and to every single American. First Lady:
And so are your families. As First Lady, one of my
greatest privileges is to visit with military families
across the country. I’ve met military spouses doing
the parenting of two — keeping the household together, juggling
play dates and soccer games, helping with homework, doing
everything they can to make the kids feel OK even as they try
to hide their own fears and worries. I’ve met kids who wonder when
mom or dad is coming home; grandparents and relatives
who step in to care for wounded warriors; and folks
trying to carry on after losing the person they loved
most in the world. And through it all, these
families somehow still find the time and energy to serve their
communities as well — coaching Little League, running the PTA,
raising money to help those less fortunate than
they are, and more. But even these strong military
families can use a hand, especially during the holidays. If you live near
a military base, you can reach out through
your workplaces, your schools, your churches. There are so many ways to
help — with child care, with errands, or just by just
bringing over a home-cooked meal. Even if you don’t know a
military family nearby, your family can still help by
donating or volunteering at organizations that support
military families. President Obama:
You can also reach out
directly to our forces around the world. Kids can make a card that will
bring a smile to an American far from home. Adults can send a care package
or a pre-paid phone card that makes the tour just
a little bit easier. Every American can do something
to support our troops, even if it’s as simple
as just saying thank you. For more ways to let
our troops know you care, go to www.whitehouse.gov. So to all our men and women in
uniform spending the holidays far away from home — whether it’s at a base here in the states, a mess hall in Iraq or a
remote outpost in Afghanistan, know that you are in our
thoughts and our prayers. And this holiday season — and
every holiday season — know that we are doing everything in our power to make sure you can succeed in your missions and come home safe to your families. First Lady:
And to all Americans,
from our family to yours, Merry Christmas. President Obama:
Merry Christmas, everybody.

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