ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
In the Weekly Presidential Address, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama extend Christmas wishes to families throughout the country and express their appreciation to the men and women of the American military and their families for their service.
Click Here to See the Obama’s Christmas Eve Greeting
“To all our men and women in uniform spending the holidays far 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,” President Obama said. “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 Michelle Obama joined the president in encouraging Americans to show support to service members and military families affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Even these strong military families can use a hand, especially during the holidays,” Michelle Obama said. “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 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.”
While acknowledging the widespread economic hardship being felt in the United States – including high unemployment and the housing crisis – the president took the opportunity to detail some of the things he is grateful for this holiday season.
“There’s still so much to celebrate this Christmas,” President Obama said. “A message of peace and brotherhood that continues to inspire more than 2,000 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.”
The president also reiterated that he is humbled by those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for America’s freedom, and inspired by their selflessness.
“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 American,” President Obama remarked.
The First Couple encouraged children across the country to make hand-made cards for military personnel stationed overseas, and asked adults to send care packages – particularly pre-paid phone cards.
“Every American can do something to support our troops, even if it’s as simple as just saying thank you,” President Obama said. “Merry Christmas, everybody.”