Crowds on the Ellipse watch the annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, attended by President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Thursday evening, Dec. 1, 2005, during the Pageant of Peace.
Santa goes into the audience to sing a song during the Pageant of Peace and the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington.
President and Laura Bush join holiday entertainers on stage during the Pageant of Peace and lighting of the National Christmas Tree festivities in Washington, December 1, 2005.
December 1, 2005
5:55 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: 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 at 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
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.
(Applause.) 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 help 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. (Applause.)
END 5:59 P.M. EST