December 24th, 2008
02:50 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama radio address remembers troops, unemployed

Obama’s holiday radio address was released Wednesday.
Obama’s holiday radio address was released Wednesday.

(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's holiday radio address pays tribute to troops serving overseas, and to those struggling amid the nation's economic woes.

"In towns and cities across America, there is an empty seat at the dinner table," says Obama. "In distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and women can only wonder at the look on their child's face as they open a gift back home."

(Full text after the jump)

Remarks of President-Elect Barack Obama
Holiday Radio Address
December 24, 2008

Good morning. This week, Americans are gathering with family and friends across the country to celebrate the blessings of Christmas and the holiday season.

As we celebrate this joyous time of year, our thoughts turn to the brave men and women who serve our country far from home. Their extraordinary and selfless sacrifice is an inspiration to us all, and part of the unbroken line of heroism that has made our freedom and prosperity possible for over two centuries.

Many troops are serving their second, third, or even fourth tour of duty. And we are reminded that they are more than dedicated Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard – they are devoted fathers and mothers; husbands and wives; sons and daughters; sisters and brothers.

This holiday season, their families celebrate with a joy that is muted knowing that a loved one is absent, and sometimes in danger. In towns and cities across America, there is an empty seat at the dinner table; in distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and women can only wonder at the look on their child's face as they open a gift back home.

Our troops and military families have won the respect and gratitude of their broader American family. Michelle and I have them in our prayers this Christmas, and we must all continue to offer them our full support in the weeks and months to come. .

These are also tough times for many Americans struggling in our sluggish economy. As we count the higher blessings of faith and family, we know that millions of Americans don't have a job. Many more are struggling to pay the bills or stay in their homes. From students to seniors, the future seems uncertain.

That is why this season of giving should also be a time to renew a sense of common purpose and shared citizenship. Now, more than ever, we must rededicate ourselves to the notion that we share a common destiny as Americans – that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. Now, we must all do our part to serve one another; to seek new ideas and new innovation; and to start a new chapter for our great country.

That is the spirit that will guide my Administration in the New Year. If the American people come together and put their shoulder to the wheel of history, then I know that we can put our people back to work and point our country in a new direction. That is how we will see ourselves through this time of crisis, and reach the promise of a brighter day.

After all, that's what Americans have always done.

232 years ago, when America was newly born as a nation, George Washington and his Army faced impossible odds as they struggled to free themselves from the grip of an empire.

It was Christmas Day – December 25th, 1776 – that they fought through ice and cold to make an improbable crossing of the Delaware River. They caught the enemy off guard, won victories in Trenton and Princeton, and gave new momentum to the beleaguered Army and new hope to the cause of Independence.

Many ages have passed since that first American Christmas. We have crossed many rivers as a people. But the lessons that have carried us through are the same lessons that we celebrate every Christmas season – the same lessons that guide us to this very day: that hope endures, and that a new birth of peace is always possible.

Thank you, and have a wonderful New Year.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. jj in New York

    Happy Holidays everyone. I got my Christmas present early on November 4th, President Elect Obama. Happy and healthy friends and family is the greatest gift. Just remember it doesn't cost a thing to smile and you don't have to pay to laugh.

    God Bless America and Merry Christmas

    December 24, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. NY republican

    HEAR, HEAR !!!!!!!!!!! And a profound thank you to all our servicemen here and overseas. Any veteran knows just to serve is sacrifice!!!

    December 24, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Rev. Wright

    You too Barack.

    December 24, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    Was in the military for 14 years. We are there because we WANT to be
    there. And will continue to do so and do whatever our commander in chief asks of us. Get use to it america

    December 24, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. Mesa

    The Messiah has spoken...

    All kidding aside, that was an inspiring, if not rehearsed speech.

    December 24, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. IndyVoter

    Well Said Mr. President-Elect. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family as well. May you enjoy great success in your years to come.

    December 24, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Earl Alton

    Thank you to President -elect Obama for an articulate, thoughtful, forward -looking Christmas message of hope. A blessed year to all of us in the U.S.

    December 24, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. naqib

    You are welcome... and Merry Christmas!

    December 24, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. Crazy Cat Lady

    Amen.

    December 24, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Carline in GA

    Beautiful message...God Bless American

    December 24, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. brett

    he is NOT president, YET! He should HOLD on his weekly/holiday/emergency radio address UNTIL after Jan 20th.

    as OBAMA quoted on 11/5/08 – "america only have one president a time"..... now he is mispoken, again as alway!

    It shows he "SO WHAT".... Watch him careful for next 4 years!

    December 24, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Angie

    That was very thoughtful Mr President elect. Hope you and your family have a wonderfully blessed and safe Christmas and Happy New Year.

    December 24, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. setys

    Thanks to you President elect. May God continue to guide and direct you, Vice President elect and your administration. May the God almighty give you wisdom to rule this country. We are grateful to God that he has given us someone like you to bring this country to its glory again.

    Your weekly address is very comforting and it gives hope to the future.

    May God bless you, your family, Vice President elect and his famiy, your staff, Americans and the rest of the world.

    Happy New year to you and your family.

    December 24, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. The Real Issue

    Our President-elect is ready to start on DAY 1. As an American, I cannot wait for a renewed era that starts at the top, and that is the leadership of the president. Cannot wait for January 20, 2009!!!

    December 24, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. wow

    Thank you Mr. President Elect. Have a wonderful xmas and a happy new year. America it is time to unite. I adopted a family this xmas. What are you doing to be your sisters or brothers keeper?

    December 24, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Nothing but a Jeep

    You can't help but love the guy for doing the right thing(s). If you cannot fathom even trying to let him do his job, just leave him alone. I have found that the people who spread hate usually do not even like themselves.

    December 24, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Rick

    Merry Christmas to everyone in America. May God continue to give Obama more wisdom like he gave King Solomon.

    December 24, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. FreeNLovIt

    Obama’s Afghan Troop-Surge Plan May Prove Too Much, Too Late .. by Ken Fireman....

    I think the war could have been won had Mahmood not die before the Iraqi invasion. He was the only BRUTAL adn destructive force that could hold the Talibans back. It's too bad he died....

    December 24, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Marey

    Let's hope all of our brave men & women in uniform are safe at home in the very near future. Obama's words serve to keep me focused on what is important: sacrifice, family and hard work.

    December 24, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Jim Hall

    President Obama. You and your family have a wonderful Christmas in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. I use to live on the island of Maui. Please take office prior to January so that you and Joe Biden can start to get this horrible mess that this country in into and bring our troops back home. Have a wonderful and warm day, week, vacation, and holiday Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    December 24, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. neville

    man of the people may God bless his presidency

    December 24, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. neville

    may god bless obama peace

    December 24, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Joyce

    Merry Christmas Mr. President, your message was felt in my heart.

    December 24, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Gracie

    God Bless you Mr. President and God BLESS our troops. May the Lord keep them safe from harms way and God Bless all their families too who make just as much a sacrifice as our fighting men and women.

    GOD BLESS YOU ALL, WE ARE VERY PROUD OF YOU!!

    December 24, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Opkode

    Let's also remember that this country was founded on the premise that an all men yearn to be free of the shackles of an oppressive government. Unfortunately, we are heading the wrong way.

    December 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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