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President-Elect's Holiday Address Offers Prayers and Praise for America's Troops



Updated 12:55 p.m.

By Philip Rucker
HONOLULU -- President-elect Barack Obama delivered a sobering message to the nation on Christmas Eve, recognizing the sacrifice of the country's service men and women while calling on Americans to find inspiration in a founding father to overcome current economic struggles.

In a holiday radio address released Wednesday, Obama cited George Washington's improbable crossing of the icy Delaware River on Dec. 25, 1776, when Washington's troops won victories against the British that "gave new momentum to a beleaguered Army and new hope to the cause of independence."

"Many ages have passed since that first American Christmas," Obama said. "We have crossed many rivers as a people. But the lessons that have carried us through are the same lessons that we celebrate every Christmas season -- the same lessons that guide us to this very day: that hope endures, and that a new birth of peace is always possible."

On a day when the nation's unemployment filings reached a 26-year high, Obama turned to Washington to stoke hope in the battered American workforce.

"If the American people come together and put their shoulder to the wheel of history, then I know that we can put our people back to work and point our country in a new direction," Obama said in the weekly radio address, scheduled for broadcast Saturday. "That is how we will see ourselves through this time of crisis, and reach the promise of a brighter day."

Obama delivered the remarks in a suit and tie, flanked by poinsettias; aides said the message was taped in Chicago before he left Saturday for a 13-day family vacation in Hawaii. The president-elect opened his address by asking the country to honor the "extraordinary and selfless sacrifice" of those serving in the military overseas.

"This holiday season, their families celebrate with a joy that is muted knowing that a loved one is absent, and sometimes in danger," Obama said. "In towns and cities across America, there is an empty seat at the dinner table; in distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and women can only wonder at the look on their child's face as they open a gift back home."

A transcript of his remarks follows:

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Holiday Radio Address
December 27, 2008

Good morning. This week, Americans are gathering with family and friends across the country to celebrate the blessings of Christmas and the holiday season.

As we celebrate this joyous time of year, our thoughts turn to the brave men and women who serve our country far from home. Their extraordinary and selfless sacrifice is an inspiration to us all, and part of the unbroken line of heroism that has made our freedom and prosperity possible for over two centuries.

Many troops are serving their second, third, or fourth tour of duty. And we are reminded that they are more than dedicated Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard - they are devoted fathers and mothers; husbands and wives; sons and daughters; and sisters and brothers.

This holiday season, their families celebrate with a joy that is muted knowing that a loved one is absent, and sometimes in danger. In towns and cities across America, there is an empty seat at the dinner table; in distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and women can only wonder at the look on their child's face as they open a gift back home.

Our troops and military families have won the respect and gratitude of their broader American family. Michelle and I have them in our prayers this Christmas, and we must all continue to offer them our full support in the weeks and months to come.

These are also tough times for many Americans struggling in our sluggish economy. As we count the higher blessings of faith and family, we know that millions of Americans don't have a job. Many more are struggling to pay the bills or stay in their homes. From students to seniors, the future seems uncertain.

That is why this season of giving should also be a time to renew a sense of common purpose and shared citizenship. Now, more than ever, we must rededicate ourselves to the notion that we share a common destiny as Americans - that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. Now, we must all do our part to serve one another; to seek new ideas and new innovation; and to start a new chapter for our great country.

That is the spirit that will guide my Administration in the New Year. If the American people come together and put their shoulder to the wheel of history, then I know that we can put our people back to work and point our country in a new direction. That is how we will see ourselves through this time of crisis, and reach the promise of a brighter day.

After all, that is what Americans have always done.

232 years ago, when America was newly born as a nation, George Washington and his Army faced impossible odds as they struggled to free themselves from the grip of an empire.

It was Christmas Day--December 25th, 1776 - that they fought through ice and cold to make an improbable crossing of the Delaware River. They caught the enemy off guard, won victories in Trenton and Princeton, and gave new momentum to a beleaguered Army and new hope to the cause of Independence.

Many ages have passed since that first American Christmas. We have crossed many rivers as a people. But the lessons that have carried us through are the same lessons that we celebrate every Christmas season--the same lessons that guide us to this very day: that hope endures, and that a new birth of peace is always possible.

Posted at 11:00 AM ET on Dec 24, 2008  | Category:  Barack Obama
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ALTO AL FUEGO (aéreo, terrestre y retirada de tropas) INEMDIATO
ESTIMADA CONDOLEZA, RICE, Aun con funciones, mi solicitud expresa de mediar ante este mayúsculo conflicto generado por Israel, como los ataques aéreos despliegue de tropas y generando toda clase de bloqueos, de alimentación, y fluidos primarios, en la población de Gaza. CONDOLEZA 1º mediar diplomáticamente enseguida orden alto al fuego, 2º hoy mismo agenda diplomática en una zona neutral, usted mensajera de paz, de manera que se pueda dar un dialogo diplomático directo con los lideres de palestina y Egipto inclusive que este uno de Gaza. BASTA YA NO MAS ATAQUES NI AEREO, NO TERRESTRE, RETIRADA DE LAS TROPAS. ADELFA PINEDA TRANSPARENCIA Y ÉTICA: Por el Desarrollo del País; Dignidad Publica, 1

Posted by: ADELFAPINEDA | December 28, 2008 3:12 PM

ALTO AL FUEGO (aéreo, terrestre y retirada de tropas) INEMDIATO
ESTIMADA CONDOLEZA, RICE, Aun con funciones, mi solicitud expresa de mediar ante este mayúsculo conflicto generado por Israel, como los ataques aéreos despliegue de tropas y generando toda clase de bloqueos, de alimentación, y fluidos primarios, en la población de Gaza. CONDOLEZA 1º mediar diplomáticamente enseguida orden alto al fuego, 2º hoy mismo agenda diplomática en una zona neutral, usted mensajera de paz, de manera que se pueda dar un dialogo diplomático directo con los lideres de palestina y Egipto inclusive que este uno de Gaza. BASTA YA NO MAS ATAQUES NI AEREO, NO TERRESTRE, RETIRADA DE LAS TROPAS. ADELFA PINEDA TRANSPARENCIA Y ÉTICA: Por el Desarrollo del País; Dignidad Publica, 1

Posted by: ADELFAPINEDA | December 28, 2008 3:07 PM

Obama has to much wisdom and class to lower himself to the level of the wackos who push the hatred and intolerence for Republicans(like the nazis spreading hatrted for the Jews). He knows he can't unite this country by trying to destroy half of it. Let the hate mongers on the extreme left and right spew their name calling and hate speech, it only proves what kind of people they are. Obama is President to all Americans, and He'll serve all Americans-equally and proudly.

Posted by: MarxBro | December 26, 2008 9:51 PM

All Americans without regards to their religion, are so grateful to our President-elect Barack Obama, for his moral leadership. I share his values for freedom. justice and human rights.

This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper under President elect Barack Obama.

May God Bless America.>>>> IS MY FIRST LOVE.

Posted by: akber_kassam | December 26, 2008 3:06 PM

So how about we simply send Messiah Goof Off Barack Hussein Obama and Michelle Obama
on Permanent Unpaid Vacation By Impeachment
of Obama and Loud Mouth Joe Biden?

Posted by: Kim12785 | December 26, 2008 7:03 AM

There is so many words being written, and being said, about the low key Mr. Obama, when he has nothing yet to react to. Please let time do its job in the proving of a person. If there is a projection, let it be that the presidency of Mr. GW Bush, has been tried and true, and the entire world knows this, so why don’t we. As Mr. Bush’s presidency draws to a close, I realize now how much I respect him and the job he has done, he is the best. Merry Christmas Mr Bush, and have many many happy new years. You love your country, your family, and Texas, you have been proven and found not lacking. Vaya con Dios….

Posted by: fly66 | December 25, 2008 1:05 PM

All Obama wants for Christmas is for Blago to give a quick resignation and finish a tidy plea deal with Fitzgerald...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 24, 2008 10:58 PM

This is a time when we should probably be thinking of the millions of poor and homeless in America. ...............


http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/12/24/dead-body-found-in-woods/

Posted by: glclark4750 | December 24, 2008 4:55 PM

What a wonderful holiday message. I am proud of our new President-Elect. It takes a special skill to weave in the familiar moments of our American past and give them a meaning for today. I guess I must have known that Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day--after all, the German mercenaries were celebrating Christmas (still an especially German custom then) and that is how he caught them off guard. But I never thought about it as a Christmas story before. Now I will.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | December 24, 2008 3:09 PM

December 24, 1914

"The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The Scottish troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, jam, cigars, chocolate, and the like. The soldiers exchanged gifts, sometimes addresses, and drank together. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

The truce spread to other areas of the lines, and there are many stories of football matches between the opposing forces.

In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in some areas, it continued until New Year's Day.

The truce occurred in spite of opposition at higher levels of the military. Earlier in the autumn, a call by Pope Benedict XV for an official truce between the warring governments had been ignored."

Best wishes for Christmas and 2009.

:-)

Posted by: toritto | December 24, 2008 3:09 PM

Really? Bad day for the democrats? Obama will destroy the republican party. Mark my words!!

Posted by: kwaboat | December 24, 2008 2:21 PM

Another really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: hclark1 | December 24, 2008 1:25 PM

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