In holiday greetings, Obamas laud military families
President Obama, joined by Michelle Obama, wished Americans a Merry Christmas in his weekly address today, extending seasons greetings to veterans and their families and asking the nation to remember those suffering in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the massacre in Newtown, Conn.
The president and his family left Washington on Friday to spend Christmas in Hawaii, where he was born and raised. Because the impending "fiscal cliff" remains unresolved, Mr. Obama said on Friday that he would return to Washington after Christmas.
His weekly address, however, was all Christmas, no business.
Mrs. Obama, noting that "more than 90,000 people have come through the White House to see the holiday decorations," said, "That's what makes this season so special - getting to spend time with the people we love most."
Mr. Obama added, "And this year, that's especially true for some of our military families," many of whom are reuniting as a decade of war draws to a close.
"So this week let's give thanks for our veterans and their families. And let's say a prayer for all our troops - especially those in Afghanistan - who are spending this holiday overseas, risking their lives to defend the freedoms we hold dear," said the president.
The first lady, referencing one of her signature initiatives, explained, "Our military families sacrifice so much on our behalf, and Barack and I believe that we should serve them as well as they serve this country. That's why Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces - an effort to rally all Americans to honor and support our veterans and military families."
The president invoked his Christian faith to call for unity, saying, "For my family and millions of Americans, it's a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. To reflect on His life and learn from His example. Every year, we commit to love one another. To give of ourselves. To be our brother's keeper. To be our sister's keeper. But those ideas are not just part of our faith. They're part of all faiths. And they unite us as Americans."
"That's part of what makes us such a compassionate nation," said the president. "And this year, I know many of you are extending that kindness to the families who are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy and your prayers to the people of Newtown, Connecticut."
He concluded, "And on behalf of my favorite Americans - Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Bo - Merry Christmas, everybody."
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