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President Bush Calls on Americans To Volunteer in 2006

Says Christmas holiday is a reminder of the need to share good fortune

Posted: December 24, 2005 Related item: President Bush Sends Greetings for a Blessed and Merry Christmas  

President George W. Bush speaks to members of the United States Armed Forces during Christmas Eve phone calls at Camp David, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005. (White House photo by Eric Draper)
President George W. Bush speaks to members of the United States Armed Forces during Christmas Eve phone calls at Camp David, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2005.

President Bush urged Americans to volunteer to help those in need during the 2005 Christmas holiday season and in 2006, saying that by doing so “we make our nation a more just and compassionate place.”

Speaking December 24 in his weekly radio address, the president recounted the suffering caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as other natural disasters, and said the Christmas holiday “reminds us of our obligation to share … 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,” he said.

Bush also expressed gratitude to U.S. troops fighting and “spreading liberty” in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, including those who “have made the ultimate sacrifice.” He also remembered their families, saying that the separation from loved ones is particularly hard during the holiday season.

For additional information about how Americans celebrate Christmas, see related article.

Following is the transcript of President Bush’s radio address:

(begin transcript)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

10:06 A.M. EST
Saturday, December 24, 2005

RADIO ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO THE NATION   [AUDIO ]

President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand before the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the White House. In keeping with this year's theme, "All Things Bright and Beautiful!" the Fraser fir is decorated with fresh white lilies. (White House photo by Eric Draper)
President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand before the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room of the White House. In keeping with this year's theme, "All Things Bright and Beautiful!" the Fraser fir is decorated with fresh white lilies.

THE PRESIDENT: 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 servicemen 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 goodwill 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.

END

(end transcript)


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