Presidential Christmas Messages – George W. Bush

Presidential Christmas Messages

Since 1870, the United States has officially celebrated Christmas as a nation and as a result has declared as a nation the belief in the coming of the Savior to earth. Just as the official Thanksgiving proclamations of the Presidents declare that our nation depends upon the grace and mercy of the LORD God to exist, the celebration of Christmas declares the nation’s faith in the manifestation of that grace and mercy in the birth of the Messiah.

George W. Bush

President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush stand next to the 2001 tree
President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush stand next to the 2001 tree

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 6, 2001 (Presidents remarks 57:00 minute mark)

Be seated, please—except for you all. [Laughter]

I want to thank you very much and welcome you all to this year’s Christmas Pageant of Peace. During this time of conflict and challenge, we once again celebrate the season of hope and the season of joy. We give thanks to our Nation and to our families and to our friends.

The First Lady and I are so honored to be here. I want to thank Peter Nostrand and the committee for putting this together, and I particularly want to thank the entertainment committee—the person in charge of getting these fantastic entertainers to come tonight. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

I want to thank all the employees and sponsors who put on this magnificent event. I want to thank Fran Mainella, the Director of the National Park Service, and all the Park Service employees who have worked hard to put this event on.

I want to thank Santa Claus for being here tonight. [Laughter] I’ve been looking for you, Santa. [Laughter]

In a moment, we will light the National Christmas Tree, a tradition Americans have been celebrating since 1923. The history of this event has included some memorable moments, including 60 years ago, less than 3 weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when Prime Minister Winston Churchill made an appearance with President Franklin Roosevelt to light the tree.

Now once again, we celebrate Christmas in a time of testing, with American troops far from home. This season finds our country with losses to mourn and great tasks to complete. In all those tasks, it is worth recalling the words from a beautiful Christmas hymn. In the third verse of “O Holy Night,” we sing, “His law is love, and His gospel is peace. Chains ye shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in His name all oppression shall cease.”

America seeks peace and believes in justice. We fight only when necessary. We fight so that oppression may cease, and even in the midst of war, we pray for peace on Earth and good will to men.

This is a time of the year for families and friends to gather together, not simply to celebrate the season but to renew the bonds of love and affection that give fulfillment to our lives. And this is a year we will not forget those who lost loved ones in the attacks on September the 11th and on the battlefield. They will remain in our prayers.

It is now my honor to invite Leon Patterson and Faith Elseth and Laura to join me up here as we light the National Christmas Tree. Leon and Faith’s fathers, Major Clifford Patterson and Lt. Commander Robert Elseth, served in the United States military. Both of these good men were lost in the attack on the Pentagon.

Leon and Faith, we thank you for helping us celebrate Christmas. You remind us of the comfort of Christmas, that hope never fails and love never ends.

And now, would you please help Laura light up our beautiful tree.

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2001
December 20, 2001
Christmas is a time of wonder and joy, of generosity and peace, that brings family and friends together in celebration and song. We sing old hymns and familiar carols, we show love for others in the giving of gifts, and we observe the hallowed traditions that make the season special. This year in the midst of extraordinary times, our Nation has shown the world that though there is great evil, there is a greater good. Americans have given of themselves, sacrificing to help others and showing the spirit of love and sharing that is so much a part of the Christmas season.

According to the Gospel of Luke, two thousand years ago, the savior of mankind came into the world. Christians believe that Jesus’ birth was the incarnation of God on earth, opening the door to new hope and eternal life. At Christmastime, Christians celebrate God’s love revealed to the world through Christ. And the message of Jesus is one that all Americans can embrace this holiday season—to love one another.

This Christmas we remember those who are without their loved ones. They continue to be in our hearts and prayers. May they experience peace, and may they find hope. And as we again celebrate Christ’s birth, may the glorious light of God’s goodness and love shine forth from our land.

Laura joins me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May God’s blessings of peace be upon us and upon the world.

GEORGE W. BUSH

The President’s Radio Address
December 22, 2001

Good morning. This week before Christmas was a busy one in Washington, DC. Members of Congress have returned home with many achievements to show for their work. Congress passed, and I will soon sign, the most important education reforms in a generation. We have taken strong action to support our military, protect our homeland, and make our airways more secure. The year 2001 also saw the largest tax relief in two decades.

These achievements bring credit to the Congress, and I’m grateful for their work. I’m disappointed, however, that the Senate was not able to pass legislation to get our economy growing again and to help workers who have lost their jobs. I’m hopeful that the positive spirit of bipartisan accomplishment that guided much of this year’s success will prevail when Congress returns early next year.

Our thoughts in these coming days, however, do not center on public policy. Millions of Americans will be celebrating Christmas, marking an ancient birth of an eternal promise of peace on Earth and good will to men. This Christmas comes just months after a great national loss. We find ourselves appreciating more than ever the things that matter most: our families, our friends, and our faith. We count our blessings, and we remember all those who feel loss, separation, and need.

For the families that lost a loved one on September the 11th or in the fighting in Afghanistan, this will be the first Christmas without a husband or a wife or a father or a mother or son or daughter. Our Nation shares their grief.

Many thousands of our fighting men and women will spend Christmas far from home, accepting hardship and danger to protect us all. We are grateful to every military family for the sacrifice they are making for America. We owe them much.

Our Nation is also thankful for the people of every faith, in every community, who make a special effort this time of year to help neighbors in need. So many goodhearted Americans are giving time or money to make sure that there’s a hot meal for homeless people, a Christmas present for disadvantaged children, food for the hungry in foreign lands, or just a visit to bring comfort to someone who is lonely or sick.

The year now ending saw a few acts of terrible evil. It also saw many more acts of courage and kindness and love. And these reflect the great hope of Christmas: A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it.

Laura and I wish a very joyous holiday to all Americans. May the peace and good will of the season fill every heart and warm every home.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.

Christmas Greeting to the Nation
December 25, 2001


Good morning, and Merry Christmas. During this time of conflict and challenge, Christmas is a day on which we celebrate hope and joy, when our thoughts turn to justice and compassion and to a Prince of Peace born long ago. This is a day on which we give thanks for the wonder of God’s love, for the blessings we have received, and for the families we love. And this year all of these things seem particularly important.

Charles Dickens wrote that Christmas is a time when abundance rejoices and want is keenly felt. This Christmas finds many facing hurt and loss, especially the families of terror victims and of our young men killed in battle. America grieves with you, and we hope you’ll especially find the comfort and hope of Christmas.

Laura and I send our good wishes to all the families in America that have come together in celebration. We’re especially grateful to all the men and women of our military, many of whom are today separated from their loved ones because they’re serving our country.

Even in this time of war, we pray for peace on Earth and good will toward men, and we continue to ask God’s blessings on the United States.

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand in front of the Blue Room Christmas Tree Sunday, December 8, 2002 prior to hosting a reception for the Kennedy Center Honorees. Mrs. Bush is wearing a floor length gown designed by Arnold Scaasi. (White House photo by Eric Draper)
President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand in front of the Blue Room Christmas Tree Sunday, December 8, 2002 prior to hosting a reception for the Kennedy Center Honorees. Mrs. Bush is wearing a floor length gown designed by Arnold Scaasi. (White House photo by Eric Draper)

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 5, 2002

Thank you very much. With the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, we observe one of the great traditions of our Nation’s Capital. And throughout the Christmas season, we recall that God’s love is found in humble places, and God’s peace is offered to all of us. Laura and I are pleased to be with you at this Christmas Pageant of Peace, and we thank you all for coming as well.

I want to thank Barbara for hosting this event. I want to thank all the entertainers for making the night such a special evening. Thank you all for coming. I want to thank Peter and the board of directors and the production team for organizing this fine event. I appreciate Santa coming. [Laughter] Looks like he needs a belt for Christmas. [Laughter] Finally, I want to thank all the good people of the National Park Service. The National Christmas Tree is a living tree, and the Park Service looks after it every single day of the year.

For nearly 80 years, in times of calm and in times of challenge, Americans have gathered for this ceremony. The simple story we remember during this season speaks to every generation. It is the story of a quiet birth in a little town on the margins of an indifferent empire, yet that single event set the direction of history and still changes millions of lives. For over two millennia, Christmas has carried the message that God is with us, and because He’s with us, we can always live in hope.

In this season, we celebrate with our families—and deeply miss family members no longer with us. Thousands of families in our Nation are still grieving over the terrible losses that came to them last year on September the 11th. We pray for their comfort. We pray for the comfort for everyone who has lost a life this year.

Our entire Nation is also thinking at this time of year of the men and women in the military, many of whom will spend this Christmas at posts far from home. They stand between Americans and grave danger. They serve in the cause of peace and freedom. They wear the uniform proudly, and we are proud of them.

Laura and I wish every American family the blessings of this season, happy holidays, and a merry Christmas. And now we have the honor of lighting the National Christmas Tree. And joining us we’ve got two new friends, Samara Banks and Ben Schneller, to help us light this tree.

Now, if everybody—you all step up here. [Laughter] Get ready. Please join us in the countdown: Five, four, three, two, one.

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2002
December 20, 2002

I send greetings to those celebrating Christmas.

During Christmas, we gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As God’s only Son, Jesus came to Earth and gave His life so that we may live. His actions and His words remind us that service to others is central to our lives and that sacrifice and unconditional love must guide us and inspire us to lead lives of compassion, mercy, and justice.

The true spirit of Christmas reflects a dedication to helping those in need, to giving hope to those in despair, and to spreading peace and understanding throughout the Earth. As we share love and enjoy the traditions of this holiday, we are also grateful for the men and women of our Armed Forces who are working to defend freedom, secure our homeland, and advance peace and safety around the world.

This Christmas, may we give thanks for the blessings God has granted to our Nation and in each of our lives. May the joy of the holidays renew our commitment to working together for a future of peace, opportunity, and hope.

Laura joins me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

GEORGE W. BUSH

The President’s Radio Address
December 21, 2002

Good morning. As families across the Nation gather to celebrate Christmas, Laura and I want to extend our best wishes for the holidays. We hope that this Christmas will be a time of happiness in your home and a time of peace in the world.

In this season, we celebrate with our families and deeply miss loved ones who are no longer with us. Thousands of families in our Nation are still grieving over the terrible losses that came to them last year on September the 11th. We have not forgotten their loss, and we continue to pray for their comfort.

The Christmas season brings a deeper concern for fellow citizens in need. Our country is prosperous; yet we must also remember there are pockets of despair in America. Some men and women are facing the struggles of illness and old age with no one to help them or pray with them. Other Americans fight against terrible addictions. Some young men have no family but a gang. Some teenage moms are abandoned and alone. And some children wonder if anybody loves them.

We all share a responsibility to help, both through our Government and through individual acts of compassion. In this season of giving, I hope all Americans will look for opportunities to donate and volunteer where the need is greatest. By reaching out to a neighbor in need, we make our country a more just and generous place.

Our entire Nation is also thinking at this time of year of the men and women in the military, many of whom will spend Christmas at posts and bases far from home. They stand between Americans and grave danger. They serve in the cause of peace and freedom. They wear the uniform proudly, and we are so proud of them.

I have met with these idealistic young men and women across America and around the world. I know the sacrifices they make, and in every place they serve, they can know that they have the love of their families and the gratitude of their Nation.

At this time of year, we appreciate all the blessings that fill our lives, especially the great blessing that came on a holy night in Bethlehem. The Christmas story speaks to every generation. It is the story of a quiet birth in a little town on the margins of an indifferent empire; yet that single event set the direction of history and still changes millions of lives.

For over two millennia, Christmas has carried the message that God is with us, and because He is with us we can always live in hope. The world we live in is very different from the world of ancient Bethlehem. Our need for that hope is still unchanged. In all the challenges and dangers of our day, we still seek the promise of peace on Earth.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.

President George W. Bush and Laura Bush pose for their official Christmas portrait in front of the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, Dec. 7, 2003.
President George W. Bush and Laura Bush pose for their official Christmas portrait in front of the White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, Dec. 7, 2003.

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 4, 2003 (Presidents remarks 55:40 minute mark)

Thank you all very much. Welcome to the Christmas Pageant of Peace. This evening we continue a tradition in Washington as we gather to light the National Christmas Tree. Tonight and throughout the Christmas season our thoughts turn to a star in the east, seen 20 centuries ago, and to a light that can guide us still. Laura and I are so pleased to join you in this ceremony, and we thank you all for being here.

It’s always good to see Santa. I know you’ve got a lot of commitments this time of year. [Laughter] We also know how Santa gets around: He travels in the dark of night; he arrives unannounced—[laughter]—and he’s gone before you know he was there. [Laughter] Santa, I can assure you, it’s a lot easier on a flying sled than it is on Air Force One. [Laughter]

I want to thank Peter Nostrand, the chairman of the Christmas Pageant of Peace, and John Betchkal, the president. I want to thank very much Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton and her staff for helping put this fine event on. I want to thank all the members of my Cabinet who are here. I appreciate Fran Mainella, who’s the Director of the National Park Service. I want to thank all the National Park Service employees who work so hard on behalf of the American people.

I want to thank Father Kleinweber for his gracious offering of prayer. I appreciate the musicians—fantastic job tonight. Thank you all for coming. I want to thank the members of the board of the Christmas Pageant of Peace. I want to welcome all the children from the Boys and Girls Clubs from this region for being here.

Also with us this evening are military personnel, including some who have recently returned from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know your families are glad to have you back. They’re proud of your service, and so is our country. On behalf of all Americans, welcome home, and job well done.

We also honor all of our fellow Americans serving far away from home during the holidays. Separation from loved ones is especially difficult this time of year. Our people in uniform can know that their families miss them and love them, that millions are praying for them, and that America is grateful for the men and women who serve and defend our country.

The story of Christmas is familiar to us all, and it still holds a sense of wonder and surprise. When the good news came first to a young woman from Nazareth, her response was understandable. She asked, “How can this be?” The news would bring difficulty to her family and suspicion upon herself. Yet, Mary gave her reply, “Be it unto me according to Thy word.” The wait for a new king had been long, and the manner of his arrival was not as many had expected. The king’s first cries were heard by shepherds and cattle. He was raised by a carpenter’s son.

Yet this one humble life lifted the sights of humanity forever. And in His words we hear a voice like no other. Across the generations, the poor have heard words of hope, the proud have heard words of challenge, and the weak and the dying have heard words of assurance. And mankind has been given a message first delivered by angels on a shepherd’s field: “Fear not.”

As we near Christmas in a time of war, these words bring comfort. We don’t know all of God’s ways, yet the Christmas story promises that God’s purpose is justice and His plan is peace. At times this belief is tested. During the Civil War, Longfellow wrote a poem that later became a part of a Christmas carol, “Hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on Earth, good will to men.”

That poem also reminds us that hate is not the final word: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, ‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep, the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on Earth, good will to men.”‘

And now as an expression of our own hope for peace in this Christmas season, we light the national tree. Maggie Stuempfle and Andre Joyner are with us here. They’re members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Laura and I would like to ask Maggie and Andre to come up, and we’ll turn on the lights. But I ask you all to join us in a national count down, starting with five, four, three, two, one.

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2003
December 19, 2003

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

    LUKE 2:14

As families and friends gather to celebrate Christmas, we remember all the blessings that fill our lives, beginning with the great blessing that came on a holy night in Bethlehem. For Christians around the world, the birth of Jesus is a central religious event; an example of God’s profound love for humanity; and the pathway to hope and to new life. Today, the Christmas story still speaks to every generation.

This holiday season, as we share in the spirit of giving and enjoy familiar Christmas traditions, we give thanks for the wonder of God’s love and rededicate ourselves to helping those in need. We also pray for our brave men and women in uniform, many of whom will spend the holidays far from home. Their courage and dedication is helping keep us safe and extending freedom and peace. We are grateful for their service to our country, and for the support and sacrifice of their families.

Laura joins me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the peace and goodwill of the season fill every heart and warm every home.

GEORGE W. BUSH

The President’s Radio Address
December 27, 2003

Good morning. In this week of Christmas, Laura and I send good wishes to the families of America. We hope this season has brought happy reunions, celebration, and new memories to cherish as we approach the new year.

Christmas centers on the birth of a child and on the message of hope and peace. We hear that message in many ways at Christmas, and it never loses the power to lift our hearts. The holidays can also deepen our sense of gratitude for life and for all the family and friends who fill our lives. In this great and prosperous land, we remember how much we have been given and how much we have to share.

We think of those among us who spend the holidays in sadness or solitude. We think of those facing illness or the loss of a loved one or the hardships of poverty or unemployment. And across our country, caring citizens are reaching out to those in need by volunteering their time. By serving a cause greater than themselves, Americans spread hope in our country, and they make our Nation better, one life at a time.

At Christmas, we also think of the men and women of our Armed Forces who are defending freedom around the world. These brave Americans are fighting terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere so that we do not meet these killers on our own streets. We are grateful for the courage and commitment of our troops, and we are safer because of their skill and sacrifice. Separation from loved ones is always difficult, especially at this time of year. All our men and women serving abroad can know that their families miss them, millions are praying for them, and their Nation is proud of them.

All who serve others are living out the spirit of the Christmas season. The story of Christmas is familiar to us all, yet it still brings inspiration and comfort and love to people everywhere. The voice first heard 20 centuries ago in Bethlehem stirs churches and communities to open homeless shelters and food pantries and job training centers to help those in need.

This Christmas season comes at a time of great challenge for our country. Yet the story of this holiday reminds us of an eternal promise, that God’s purpose is justice and His plan is peace.

Thank you for listening.

U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush stand in front of the official White House Christmas Tree during the 2004 holiday season
U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush stand in front of the official White House Christmas Tree during the 2004 holiday season

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 2, 2004 (Presidents Remarks 52:48 minute mark)

Thank you all very much. Tonight we begin a joyous season, and the city of Washington is never more beautiful than during the holidays. At Christmastime, we celebrate good tidings first announced 2,000 years ago and still a source of great joy in our world. Laura and I are always happy to join in the Pageant of Peace, and we thank you all for coming this evening.

I thank our special guests. I want to thank Santa for such good weather. [Laughter] I appreciate Peter, the chairman of the Pageant of Peace, and his wife, Nancy. I want to thank John Betchkal, the president of the Christmas Pageant of Peace. I want to thank the members of the board of the Christmas Pageant of Peace for your hard work in putting on this joyous festival. I want to thank Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton. I want to thank other members of my Cabinet who are here tonight. I appreciate the Members of Congress who are here.

I want to thank Fran Mainella, who is the Director of the Parks Service, and all the National Parks Service employees. I thank Dr. Schuller and all the entertainers. Thanks so very much for being here tonight.

The season of Advent is always the season of hope. We think of the patient hope of men and women across the centuries who listened to the words of the prophets and lived in joyful expectation. We think of the hope of Mary, who welcomed God’s plan with great faith. We think of the hope of the wise men who set out on a long journey guided only by a slender promise traced in the stars. We are reminded of the hope that the grandest purposes of the Almighty can be found in the humblest places. And we embrace the hope that all the love and gifts that come to us in this life are the signs and symbols of even a greater love and gift that came on a holy night. The old carol speaks of a “thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” And every year at this time we feel the thrill of hope as we wait on Christmas Day.

This Christmas, as loved ones come together, some in our military are separated from family by the call of duty a long way from home. We have service men and women celebrating the holidays at bases from Europe to East Asia and on many fronts in the war on terror. Especially for those deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, the work is dangerous and the mission is urgent. American service men and women are bringing freedom to many and peace to future generations. Their sacrifices defend us all, and all Americans are grateful to them and to our military families.

Across our country, citizens are supporting our people in uniform with their prayers and many acts of kindness. Often the effort is led by children. In Chantilly, Virginia, Brownie Troop 5179, who are here tonight, by the way, collected donations of candy and sun screen, bug spray, and handmade cards to send to our soldiers overseas. They gathered more than 200 pounds of gifts and made sure the packages arrived on time for the holidays. I’m sure those thoughtful gifts were gladly received.

And I thank the Brownies for reminding the good people of our military how much they mean to America. And to show our appreciation to the Brownies of Chantilly, Virginia, and all those who volunteer in our blessed land, we have two representatives of the Troop to help Laura and me light our national Christmas tree.

And so, if Nichole and Clara will come forward, we will turn on the lights. Are you ready? Now will you join me in the countdown? Five, four, three, two, one.

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2004
December 23, 2004

For 2,000 years, Christmas has proclaimed a message of hope: the patient hope of men and women across centuries who listened to the words of prophets and lived in joyful expectation; the hope of Mary, who welcomed God’s plan with great faith; and the hope of wise men, who set out on a long journey guided only by a slender promise traced in the stars. Christmas reminds us that the grandest purposes of God can be found in the humblest places. And it gives us hope that all the love and gifts that come to us in this life are the signs and symbols of an even greater love and gift that came on a holy night.

The Christmas season fills our hearts with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives. With those blessings comes a responsibility to reach out to others. Many of our fellow Americans still suffer from the effects of illness or poverty. Others fight cruel addictions, cope with division in their families, or grieve the loss of a loved one. Christmastime reminds each of us that we have a duty to love our neighbor just as we would like to be loved ourselves. By volunteering our time and talents where they are needed most, we help heal the sick, comfort those who suffer, and bring hope to those who despair.

During the holidays, we also keep in our thoughts and prayers the men and women of our Armed Forces—especially those far from home, separated from family and friends by the call of duty. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, these courageous Americans are fighting the enemies of freedom and protecting our country from danger. By bringing liberty to the oppressed, our troops are defending the freedom and security of us all. They and their families are making many sacrifices for our Nation, and all Americans are deeply grateful.

Laura joins me in wishing all Americans a Merry Christmas.

GEORGE W. BUSH

The President’s Radio Address
December 25, 2004
Good morning. On this Christmas Day, as families across the Nation gather in our homes to celebrate, Laura and I extend to all Americans our best wishes for the holidays. We hope this Christmas is a time of joy and peace for each of you, and we hope it offers you a chance for rest and reflection as you look forward to the new year ahead.

The Christmas season fills our hearts with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives, and with those blessings comes a responsibility to reach out to others. Many of our fellow Americans still suffer from the effects of illness or poverty. Others fight cruel addictions or cope with division in their families or grieve the loss of a loved one.

Christmastime reminds each of us that we have a duty to our fellow citizens, that we are called to love our neighbor just as we would like to be loved ourselves. By volunteering our time and talents where they are needed most, we help heal the sick, comfort those who suffer, and bring hope to those who despair, one heart and one soul at a time.

During the holidays, we also keep in our thoughts and prayers the men and women of our Armed Forces, especially those far from home, separated from family and friends by the call of duty. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, these skilled and courageous Americans are fighting the enemies of freedom and protecting our country from danger. By bringing liberty to the oppressed, our troops are helping to win the war on terror, and they are defending the freedom and security of us all. They and their families are making many sacrifices for our Nation, and for that, all Americans are deeply grateful.

The times we live in have brought many challenges to our country. And in such times, the story of Christmas brings special comfort and confidence. For 2,000 years, Christmas has proclaimed a message of hope, the patient hope of men and women across centuries who listened to the words of prophets and lived in joyful expectation, the hope of Mary who welcomed God’s plan with great faith, and the hope of Wise Men who set out on a long journey, guided only by a promise traced in the stars.

Christmas reminds us that the grandest purposes of God can be found in the humblest places, and it gives us hope that all the love and gifts that come to us in this life are the signs and symbols of an even greater love and gift that came on a holy night.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.

President Bush and Laura Bush pose for their Official Holiday Portrait by the Blue Room Christmas Tree. SELECTED PORTRAIT.
President Bush and Laura Bush pose for their Official Holiday Portrait by the Blue Room Christmas Tree.
SELECTED PORTRAIT.

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 1, 2005 (Presidents remarks 54:40 minute mark)


Thank you all very much. Welcome to the Christmas Pageant of Peace. Laura and I are so honored to join you all. The lighting of the National Christmas Tree is one of the great traditions in our Nation’s Capital. Each year, we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity.

Santa, thanks for coming. [Laughter] Glad you made it. I know you’ve got a lot of commitments this time of year. By the way, we have a lot of chimneys in the White House—[laughter]—if you’re looking for something to do. I appreciate all our entertainers. Thanks for being here. This is a fantastic evening.

I want to thank Peter Nostrand, who is the chairman of the Christmas Pageant of Peace, and John Betchkal, all the members of the board. I appreciate Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, other members of my Cabinet who are here. I appreciate the Members of Congress who have come.

I particularly want to give a special thanks to the National Parks Service Director Fran Mainella and all the good folks who work for the National Parks Service. Reverend Martin, thank you very much as well.

Christmas is a time to rejoice and to give thanks for the blessings of the season and for the blessings that surround us every day of the year. We also remember that we have a responsibility to help those in need. America is a compassionate and generous land, and acts of kindness toward others fulfill the spirit of the season.

As we approach Christmas in this time of war, we pray for freedom and justice and peace on Earth. In his Christmas Eve address to the Nation in 1941, Franklin Roosevelt said that “Against enemies who preach the principles of hate and practice them, we set our faith in human love, and in God’s care for us and all men everywhere.” We ask for God to watch over our men and women in uniform who are serving overseas. Their families miss them, hold a seat open for them, and pray for their safe return. America’s military men and women stand for freedom, and they serve the cause of peace. Many of them are serving in distant lands tonight, but they are close to our hearts.

As an expression of our hope for peace and happiness in this Christmas season, we light the National Christmas Tree. Jackie, Melissa, and Jenna Kantor of Bethesda are with us here. They started “Project Backpack” to give children displaced by Hurricane Katrina new backpacks filled with books and toys and school supplies. These girls are an example of the compassion that is found in the hearts and souls of Americans everywhere, and they have shown how much good can be done when we reach out to help a neighbor in need. And so Laura and I now invite them to join us to turn on the lights.

And would you help turn on these lights, as well, by counting down. Five, four, three, two, one.

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2005
December 19, 2005

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel”—which means, God with us.

    MATTHEW 1:23

More than 2,000 years ago, a virgin gave birth to a Son, and the God of heaven came to Earth. Mankind had received its Savior, and to those who had dwelled in darkness, the light of hope had come. Each Christmas, we celebrate that first coming anew, and we rejoice in the knowledge that the God who came to Earth that night in Bethlehem is with us still and will remain with us forever.

Christmas is a season of hope and joy, a time to give thanks for the blessing of Christ’s birth and for the blessings that surround us every day of the year. We have much to be thankful for in this country, and we have a responsibility to help those in need. Jesus calls us to help others, and acts of kindness toward the less fortunate fulfill the spirit of the Christmas season.

On Christmas, we pray for freedom, justice, and peace on Earth. We remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for our freedom, and we ask for God’s blessing on their loved ones. We ask God to watch over all of our men and women in uniform. Many are serving in distant lands, helping to advance the cause of freedom and peace. Our entire Nation is grateful to them and prays for their safe return.

Laura and I send our best wishes for a blessed and merry Christmas.

GEORGE W. BUSH

The President’s Radio Address
December 24, 2005

Good morning. On this Christmas Eve, Laura and I send our best wishes to families across America as you gather in your homes to celebrate the holiday. Christmas is a time of joy and peace, and we hope the holiday season brings all of you happy reunions with families and friends and time to rest and reflect as you look forward to a new year.

At Christmas, we give thanks for the gift of the birth of Christ and for the blessings that surround us every day of the year. In this great and prosperous land, we have so much to be thankful for, and Christmas reminds us of our obligation to share these blessings with others. There are many among us who are hurting and require a helping hand. In the new year, I hope Americans will look for ways to volunteer your time and talents where they are needed most. By reaching out to a neighbor in need, we make our Nation a more just and compassionate place.

This Christmas, we remember our fellow citizens who suffered from the hurricanes and other disasters that struck our Nation this past year. We pray for their strength as they continue to recover and rebuild their lives and their communities.

During the holiday season and throughout the year, we think with pride of the men and women of our Armed Forces, who are keeping our Nation safe and defending freedom around the world. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, they are protecting our liberty by spreading liberty to others, and all Americans are grateful to our troops for their courage and commitment.

We’re also grateful to their families. Staying behind when a family member goes to war is a heavy burden, and it’s particularly hard at Christmas. We pray for our military families; we ask Almighty God to bestow His protection and care on their loved ones as they protect our Nation from grave dangers.

We also remember the heroic men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation’s freedom. We pray that God will comfort the loved ones they left behind. The sacrifices of these brave troops have rescued millions from lives of tyranny and sorrow and made America more secure. We will always cherish the memory of each of our fallen service men and women and count it a privilege to be citizens of the country they served.

The times we live in have brought many challenges to our country. And at such times, the story of Christmas brings special comfort and confidence. Christmas reminds us that we can trust in God’s promise of peace on Earth and good will toward men. On a night more than 2,000 years ago, an angel of the Lord brought good tidings of great joy: The God of Heaven had come to Earth, and He would be with us always.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose for a holiday portrait in front the White House Christmas Tree Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper
President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose for a holiday portrait in front the White House Christmas Tree Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 7, 2006 (Presidents remarks 1:08:40 minute mark)

Thank you all very much. Laura and I are pleased to welcome you to the Christmas Pageant of Peace. Christmas is a season of glad tidings and a time when our thoughts turn to the source of joy and hope born in a humble manger 2000 years ago. And tonight we gather to observe one of the great traditions of our Nation’s Capital, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

I’m really glad Santa made it. [Laughter] I’m glad he could find a place to park. [Laughter] And I’m glad you all joined us tonight.

I want to thank Vin for his leadership of the National Park Foundation. I thank Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett for joining us. I am pleased to be here with members of my Cabinet; Members of the Congress; Mary Bomar, who is the Director of the National Park Service; Joe Lawler, Regional Director of the National Capital Region, National Park Service. I want to thank all the National Park Service employees for their hard work.

I appreciate Dr. Robert Schuller for leading the invocation. I want to thank our fabulous entertainers for entertaining us tonight.

We have gathered for this ceremony for more than 80 years. We come together to celebrate a simple and inspiring story. It’s a story of a miraculous birth in a humble place. It is a story of a single life that changed the world and continues to change hearts. And for two millennia, this story has carried the message that God is with us and He offers His love to every man, woman, and child.

During the Christmas season, we seek to reflect that love in our lives. Millions of Americans will celebrate at home in fellowship with friends and family. Millions will reach out with a compassionate hand to help brothers and sisters in need. And all will give thanks to the bonds of love and affection that bring fulfillment to our lives and the hope of peace around the world.

At this time of year, we give thanks for the brave men and women in uniform who are serving our Nation. Many of those who have answered the call of duty will spend this Christmas season far from home and separated from family. We honor their sacrifice. We are proud of their service and that of their families. We will keep them close to our hearts and in our prayers.

And now, as an expression of our own hope for peace in this Christmas season, we will light the National Tree. We’ve asked three representatives from the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Program to help. The Junior Ranger Program teaches children and families about science, nature, and stewardship of our national parks.

And so Attiyah Jenkins, Stephen Scott, and Dana Bederson will help me light the National Christmas Tree. Come on up, guys.

I ask all of you to join us in the countdown: five, four, three, two, one.

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2006
December 18, 2006

“For unto us a child is born… and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

ISAIAH 9:6

For centuries, patient men and women listened to the words of prophets and lived in joyful expectation of the coming Messiah. Their patience was rewarded when a young virgin named Mary welcomed God’s plan with great faith, and a quiet birth in a little town brought hope to the world. For more than two millennia, Christians around the world have celebrated Christmas to mark the birth of Jesus and to thank the Almighty for His grace and blessings.

In this season of giving, we also remember the universal call to love our neighbors. Millions of compassionate souls take time during the holidays to help people who are hurt, feed those who are hungry, and shelter those who need homes. Our Nation also thinks of the men and women of our military who are spending Christmas at posts and bases around the world and of the loved ones who pray for their safe return. America owes a debt of gratitude to our service members and their families.

The simple story of Christmas speaks to every generation and holds a sense of wonder and surprise. During this time of joy and peace, may we be surrounded by the love of family and friends and take time to reflect on the year ahead. Laura and I pray that this season will be a time of happiness in every home and a time of peace throughout the world. Merry Christmas.

The President’s Radio Address
December 23, 2006
Good morning. As families across our Nation gather to celebrate Christmas, Laura and I send our best wishes for the holidays. We hope that your Christmas will be blessed with family and fellowship.

At this special time of year, we give thanks for Christ’s message of love and hope. Christmas reminds us that we have a duty to others, and we see that sense of duty fulfilled in the men and women who wear our Nation’s uniform. America is blessed to have fine citizens who volunteer to defend us in distant lands. For many of them, this Christmas will be spent far from home, and on Christmas our Nation honors their sacrifice and thanks them for all they do to defend our freedom.

At Christmas, we also recognize the sacrifice of our Nation’s military families. Staying behind when a family member goes to war is a heavy burden, and it is particularly hard during the holidays. To all our military families listening today, Laura and I thank you, and we ask the Almighty to bestow His protection and care on your loved ones as they protect our Nation.

This Christmas season comes at a time of change here in our Nation’s Capital, with a new Congress set to arrive, a review of our Iraq strategy underway, and a new Secretary of Defense taking office. If you’re serving on the frontlines halfway across the world, it is natural to wonder what all this means for you. I want our troops to know that while the coming year will bring change, one thing will not change, and that is our Nation’s support for you and the vital work you do to achieve a victory in Iraq. The American people are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers, and we will make sure you have the resources you need to accomplish your mission.

This Christmas, millions of Americans are coming together to show our deployed forces and wounded warriors love and support. Patriotic groups and charities all across America are sending gifts and care packages to our service men and women, visiting our troops recovering at military hospitals, reaching out to children whose moms and dads are serving abroad, and going to airports to welcome our troops home and to let them know they are appreciated by a grateful nation.

One man who’s making a difference this holiday season is Jim Wareing. Jim is the founder of New England Caring for Our Military. This year Jim helped organize a gift drive by thousands of students from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Students from kindergarten to high school collected more than 20,000 gifts for our troops abroad. The gifts are being sent to troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Korea, Japan, and Africa. The care packages include books and puzzles, board games, phone cards, fresh socks, and T-shirts, and about 7,000 handmade holiday greeting cards and posters. Jim says, quote, “It’s probably always hard for troops to be far away from home, but especially hard on the holidays. I use this as an opportunity to try to pay them back for my freedom.”

Citizens like Jim Wareing represent the true strength of our country, and they make America proud. I urge every American to find some way to thank our military this Christmas season. If you see a soldier, sailor, airman, marine, or a member of the Coast Guard, take a moment to stop and say, “Thanks for your service.” And if you want to reach out to our troops or help out the military family down the street, the Department of Defense has set up a web site to help. It is americasupportsyou.mil. This web site lists more than 150 compassionate organizations that can use your help. In this season of giving, let us stand with the men and women who stand up for America.

At this special time of year, we reflect on the miraculous life that began in a humble manger 2,000 years ago. That single life changed the world and continues to change hearts today. To everyone celebrating Christmas, Laura and I wish you a day of glad tidings.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.

December 2007 – President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura pose in front of the Christmas Tree in the Blue Room. (Getty Images/Eric Draper
December 2007 – President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura pose in front of the Christmas Tree in the Blue Room. (Getty Images/Eric Draper

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 6, 2007

Mr. Secretary, thank you for that kind introduction, and thank you all for joining us. Laura and I are pleased to welcome you on this joyous occasion. As the Secretary said, in a few moments, we will light the National Christmas Tree. And as he also said, this is a tradition that dates back to President Calvin Coolidge.

There’s one person with us today who remembers that first annual Christmas tree lighting, and, Santa, we are glad you’re here. [Laughter] We know this is a busy time of year for you, and we’re thrilled you’re here. And we really appreciate you bringing Mrs. Claus. Both you and I married well. [Laughter]

I appreciate the members of my Cabinet for joining us, Members of the Congress. I want to thank Vin Cipolla, Mary Bomar. I particularly want to thank the men and women who work for the National Park Service.

Pastor, thank you for your blessing. I believe these entertainers didn’t disappoint anyone. We’re proud you’re here, and thank you for your beautiful music.

Christmas is a time of rejoicing and reflection. Each year at this time, we rejoice in the proclamation of good news, that in Bethlehem of Judea, a Savior was born. And we rejoice in the Christmas promise of peace to men of good will. We also reflect on the mystery of Christmas, the story of the Almighty, who entered history in the most vulnerable form possible, hidden in the weakness of a newborn child. And we reflect on the call of our Creator, who by taking this form, reminds us of our duty to protect and care for the weak and the vulnerable among us.

During this Christmas season, millions of Americans will answer this call by reaching out a compassionate hand to help brothers and sisters in need. We are thankful for these good souls who show the good heart of our Nation. We’re also thankful for the thousands of Americans who answer the call by serving our Nation in uniform. Many will spend this Christmas stationed in distant and dangerous lands, far from homes and from the families they love. They are never far from our thoughts, and they’re always in our prayers. America honors their sacrifice and that of their families, who also serve our Nation. We’re grateful for all they do to ensure that we live in the freedom our Creator intended for every man, woman, and child on the face of this Earth.

And now, as an expression of our hope for peace in this Christmas season, we’re going to light the National Christmas Tree. And we have asked two young Americans to join us. Brianna Kinder helps others through her participation in the Montgomery County Police Activities League’s Kids Care Club. And Damarcus Hawkins gives his time as part of the Discovery Creek Children’s Museum service learning program.

And now if Brianna and Damarcus will join Laura, and if you will join me in a countdown: five, four, three, two, one.

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2007
December 21, 2007

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High . . . his kingdom will never end.”‘

LUKE 1:30-33

During the Christmas season, our thoughts turn to the source of joy and hope born in a humble manger on a holy night more than 2,000 years ago. Each year, Christians everywhere celebrate this single life that changed the world and continues to change hearts today. The simple and inspiring story of the birth of Jesus fills our souls with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives and promises that God’s purpose is justice and His plan is peace.

At this special time of year, we give thanks for Christ’s message of love and mercy, and we are reminded of our responsibility to serve. America is blessed to have fine citizens who reach out with a compassionate hand to help brothers and sisters in need. We also remember our brave men and women in uniform who have volunteered to defend us in distant lands. Many of those who have answered the call of duty will spend Christmas far from home and separated from family. We honor their sacrifice, ask God to watch over them and their families, and pray for their safe return.

Christmas is a time to rejoice and remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Laura and I pray your Christmas will be blessed with family and fellowship, and we wish you a day of glad tidings. Merry Christmas.

GEORGE W. BUSH

The President’s Radio Address
December 22, 2007

Good morning. Christmas is just a few days away. As Americans gather around the tree with family and friends, we remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and Coast Guard men and women who will be spending this holiday far away from their homes and loved ones.

America is blessed to have men and women willing to step forward to defend our freedoms and keep us safe from our enemies. We are thankful for their courage and their dedication to duty. We pray for their safety, and we wish them a Merry Christmas, wherever they serve.

America is also blessed to have military families willing to sacrifice for our country. The husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters of those in the military serve our country as well. For many of them, service means packing up their belongings and moving on short notice, or living in a different country for a time, or missing a family member as he or she serves overseas. And this Christmas, many will sit down for dinner thinking of their loved ones half a world away. These families deserve the thanks and the prayers of our whole Nation.

Some military families are helping loved ones recover from injuries sustained in combat. These families are a special source of hope and strength for our wounded warriors. Through their encouragement and devotion, they help heal the body and the spirit, and they remind our wounded warriors that our Nation stands behind them.

Other military families have felt the pain of losing a loved one in battle. This Christmas, we hold them in our hearts. We lift them up in our prayers. And we are inspired by the example that many of these families have set by turning their grief into extraordinary acts of compassion and love.

One such inspiring example is the family of Army Specialist Michael Rodriguez of Knoxville, Tennessee. During his deployment in Iraq, Michael often wrote home to his family about the children he met on patrol. In April, Michael was killed by a suicide bomber. Now his family is honoring his memory by helping to collect school supplies for students in an Iraqi school for girls.

We are also grateful for Kirsten Yuhl-Torres of San Diego, California. In 2006, Kirsten lost her son, Sergeant Joseph Perry, in Iraq. To honor Joseph’s memory, she started sending care packages and writing letters of support to other soldiers serving there. Kirsten says, “Joe was our only son, but now we have hundreds.”

Our Nation is also inspired by Bob Lehmiller, whose son, Sergeant Mike Lehmiller, was killed in 2005 while serving in Afghanistan. To honor his son, Bob created Mike’s Guardian Eagle Foundation. The foundation gives financial assistance to military families who need extra help when their loved ones deploy or if they’re wounded or killed on the field of battle.

All these families have already given so much to America, and yet they have found a way to give even more. We thank each of them. And we thank every one of our citizens who supports our troops with letters and donations or prayers.

At this time of year, we acknowledge that love and sacrifice can transform our world. The miracle of Christmas reminds us that God’s grace is revealed in the humblest places. Two thousand years ago, the fullness of that grace was found in a tiny manger, and the life born that day changed our world forever. As Christmas approaches, Laura and I extend to all Americans our best wishes, and we hope every family is brought closer together during this season of reflection and rejoicing.

Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose for their 2008 holiday portrait Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008, in the Blue Room of the White House. White House photo by Eric Draper
President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose for their 2008 holiday portrait Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008, in the Blue Room of the White House. White House photo by Eric Draper

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree
December 4, 2008 (Presidents remarks 54:45 minute mark)

Thank you. Mr. Secretary, thank you for the introduction, and thank you for the warm welcome. Laura and I are pleased to welcome all of you here for one of Washington’s great traditions, the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.

Santa, thank you for finally showing up. [Laughter] I know you’ve come a long way. After all, you do live in the North Pole. You may have heard that Laura and I are going to have plenty of time next year. [Laughter] So we look forward to returning the favor. The problem is we’re going to be short on an airplane. [Laughter] Have you got an extra sleigh? [Laughter]

I welcome the members of my Cabinet, the administration, and their families; Members of Congress and their families; Vin Cipolla; Mary Bomar, the Director of the National Park Service; Peggy O’Dell, Regional Director, National Capital Region of the National Park Service. All the National Park Service employees, we thank you for your dedication and work.

Laura and I are thrilled to be here with our dear friend, Reverend Luis Leon. All the entertainers, thank you for being here. You were fabulous tonight. We appreciate your performance. We especially welcome the folks from Enterprise, Alabama. And we thank the school choir for showing the determination and grit of some really fine people.

We want to thank all the volunteers who designed and created the ornaments for our State trees.

Today we celebrate the 85th anniversary of the National Christmas Tree lighting. In times of calm and in times of challenge, Americans have gathered for this ceremony. The simple story we remember during the season speaks to every generation. It is the story of a humble birth in a quiet town, and the story of one life that changed millions more. For two millennia, the story of Christmas has brought joy to families, comfort to communities, and hope to hearts around the world.

During Christmas we celebrate the blessings of the season and the blessings that surround us every day. And the greatest of these blessings is freedom, the Almighty’s gift to every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth.

And today we give thanks to the brave men and women who protect the American people by defending freedom around the world. Over the past 8 years, my greatest honor as President has been serving as Commander in Chief of the finest military ever known.

Our men and women in uniform have stepped forward to defend our Nation during a time of war. They serve with courage and with honor, and they’ve made incredible sacrifices. Many of them will spend this Christmas stationed in distant lands, far from the families they love. Yet they’re never far from our thoughts, and they are always in our prayers. America honors their service, and we are grateful to the sacrifice of the families who stand by their side.

Some of those families are with us tonight, and Laura and I are pleased to be joined by Kayleigh Kepler and Lindsey Van Horn. Lindsey’s dad is in Baghdad. Kayleigh’s dad will deploy to Iraq next year. Kayleigh and Lindsey, America is safer because of your dads, and moms and dads across America, who have stepped forward to defend our country.

And now I’m going to ask Kayleigh and Lindsey to get up here with Laura–to please come up with Laura–[laughter]–and help us light this beautiful tree.

Everybody join–five, four, three, two, one!

Message on the Observance of Christmas 2008
December 23, 2008

   “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
    Luke 2:10-12

Each year, Christmas brings together families, friends, and communities to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ and celebrate the wonderful gifts God has bestowed upon us. During this season, we remember Jesus’ birth from the Virgin Mary, His justice and mercy that changed the world, and His ultimate sacrifice for all people. Though Jesus was born humbly in a manger, He was destined to be the Savior of the world. The light He brought into the world continues to break through darkness and change people’s lives two thousand years later.

This holiday season, as you rejoice in the good news of Jesus’ love, forgiveness, acceptance, and peace, I encourage you to show grace to those less fortunate, just as God showed it to us. By serving those in need and through other acts of love and compassion, we can honor God’s goodness and affirm the immeasurable value God places on the sanctity of life. We remember the members of our Armed Forces serving to protect our country and secure God’s gift of freedom for others around the globe. All Americans are indebted to these men and women and their families for their sacrifice, devotion to duty, and patriotism.

Laura and I send our best wishes for a very Merry Christmas. May you be surrounded by loved ones and blessed by the Author of Life during this joyous holiday and throughout the New Year.

George W. Bush

The President’s Radio Address
December 27, 2008

Good morning. This week millions of Americans gather with loved ones for Christmas. This is a season of hope and joy. And it is an occasion to remember a humble birth that has helped shape the world for more than 2000 years.

One of the things that makes Christmas special is that it allows us to step back and take stock of what is truly meaningful in our lives. As years pass by, we often forget about the gifts and the parties, but we remember special moments with families and friends.

This year, as you spend time with those you love, I hope you’ll also take time to remember the men and women of our Armed Forces. Every one of them has volunteered to serve our Nation. And with their incredible sacrifices, they preserve the peace and freedom that we celebrate during this season.

This tradition of service is as old as our Nation itself. In 1776, it looked as if America’s first Christmas as an independent nation might also be its last. After a series of crippling defeats by the British, George Washington’s army was exhausted and disheartened. With their terms of service expiring in just a few weeks, many soldiers were planning on leaving the army. And it seemed that without a miracle, America’s fight for freedom would be doomed.

That miracle took place on Christmas night, 1776. George Washington planned a surprise attack on the enemy forces camped across the Delaware River in Trenton, New Jersey. Under the cover of darkness, he led a few thousand soldiers across the icy waters in the midst of a driving snowstorm. Most generals would not have taken such a risk. But the commitment of Washington and his men was absolute. They headed into battle with a bold password, “Victory or death.”

In a matter of hours, victory was theirs. Morale immediately improved. And the American people began to believe that our Nation possessed the perseverance and courage to protect our liberty. The turnaround that began that night would end with the United States’ triumph in the American Revolution and the permanent establishment of a free nation.

Two hundred and thirty-two years have passed since George Washington crossed the Delaware. But on this Christmas, his legacy lives on in the men and women of the United States military. Some of them are spending this holiday helping defend emerging democracies like Iraq and Afghanistan. Others are spending it in lands where we defeated tyranny long ago, such as Germany or Japan. And some of them are spending it stateside, recovering in places like Bethesda National Naval Medical Center or Walter Reed.

Regardless of where they are, our men and women in uniform and the families who support them remind us of a clear lesson: Defending freedom is a full-time job. Our enemies do not take holidays. So the members of our Armed Forces stand ready to protect our freedom at any hour. For their service, they have the thanks of a grateful nation, this Christmas and always.

Thank you for listening.

 

Presidential Christmas Messages

Presidential Christmas Messages 4

 

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