December 24th, 2008
02:50 PM ET
9 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. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Very beautiful address. I am one of the millions of Americans struggling in this economy, but I have to have faith in myself and my Higher Power that things will get better. Happy holidays to all!

    December 24, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. Griff

    Remmeber yourself, in ten years time..... Nobody else will....

    December 24, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. Betty the maid

    I love you Barack Obama.....You are America's savior, What an incredible leader you will be....God bless you and your beautiful family.

    God bless America
    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah

    And for all you right wing wackos...Deal with it, you lost, its our world now!!!

    Love you Obama

    December 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    Well crafted Mr. President (I am dropping the elect thing, as it is obvious the man in the office now is running out the clock and does not care). I look forward to the new year with you running the ship. Give us the guidance we need and we shall do our part. God bless you and God bless us all.

    December 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Gallimimus

    NIce message. I hope everybody has a great Christmas. Times are tough. Be optimistic and it will get better in the future.

    December 24, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Anne E.

    Mr. President, you're the man! (Okay, well, with the exception of the Rick Warren thing.)

    December 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Bunky Desortis

    "After all, that's what Americans have always done." Quote from Obama's message. So, I ask you, where's the hope and change, if all he can say is we will do what we have always done?

    December 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |





    December 24, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. PoliticoMike

    Thanks for honoring them, today

    December 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Anda Roberts Bryant

    Barack is going down in history as America's greatest presidents. Nations are going to extended themselves to the USA because of him.

    To God be the glory for answering the prayers of his children.

    December 24, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. cynthia lee

    obama rocks! love that man. the secret of living is to endure.

    December 24, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Janet in Reno

    This is our guy! Thank you America, for voting this wonderful, smart, gracious man into office!

    December 24, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. aware

    There is only one Messiah, the Prince of Peace! The new birth of peace comes only with the change of heart that Jesus/Yeshua offers! He is our hope! 🙂

    December 24, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Kevin B

    Very well put PE Obama, America truly needs to come together in order and to regain the greatness, optimism and ingenuity we all know we are capable of as a nation or suffer the fate of many lost great civilizations

    The age of the simple minded and illogical liberal/conservative rancor is no longer acceptable in these tough times.

    December 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. carol

    God Bless you PE Obama and your family this holiday season....God willing under your administration we can get the troops back home where they belong.
    My fervent wish for the New Year is that both of the wars we are in can come to an end....Iraq must end soon, too many lives lost and all based on a lie...Afghanistan, maybe harder to to achieve closure, but even that war seems pointless we've been there so long and what have we achieved really!!!
    Time for this fighting to stop, no lives are worth it.

    December 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. SAGG

    You too, Mr. President-Elect!

    December 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. rob rose

    Thank you, Mr. Obama, for your wonderful words of encouragement for all Americans in this troubled time. We are all anxious to begin a new direction under your guidance. You give us a lot to look forward to in the coming year(s) and it is with this positive hope that makes us all roll up our sleeves and go to work to get America back on the path that we all desire.

    Bless you.

    December 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. ANGIE

    LOVE THIS MAN, SO GLAD I VOTED FOR HIM AMD SO HAPPY HE WILL BE OUR 44th President !God bless the Obama Family and Merry Christmas to all And God Bless our troops and their Families!! not just at Christmas but everyday!!

    December 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Ted:Canada

    Santa heads for Canada via Asia, Antarctica, Europe: Norad

    Global tracking website following Father Christmas's flight path
    Last Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 | 11:54 AM ET Comments38Recommend101CBC News
    Even the cold and snow that have gripped Canada recently aren't expected to delay Santa Claus's visits to children this holiday season, says Norad, which has locked its satellites on to the bright light of Rudolph's nose.

    Santa and his reindeer flew over Asia and the Cacasus mountains on Wednesday afternoon, working their way towards Canada to deliver Christmas presents to children around the world, said Sub.-Lt. David Lavallee, a public affairs spokesman for North American Aerospace Defense Command.

    December 24, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. leon bing

    President-elect Barack Obama embodies the hope Americans feel. He is the one to lead all of us into a future filled not only with hard work; it's a future shimmering with the knowledge that we will come through these times to a better world.

    December 24, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. dawn

    I'm struggling BAMA
    can I come to Hawaii for Christmas with u

    December 24, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Craig Nazor

    Barack Obama is a good and decent man. He is moderate, intelligent, and thoughtful. He is honest. This time, our country has chosen well. He realizes that we are all accountable for our collective future, so we have to start acting that way. He who has collected the most wealth or posessions, in the end, may not win, and in the struggle to hoard it all, may end up harming all Americans.

    The same thing, it appears, applies to nations.

    Those of you who don't believe this, I wish you the patience to calm your alarm, because time (and not that much time) will tell.

    Best wishes to our First Family for a peaceful holiday, and all grace and courage to face the tough job ahead. And great thanks for stepping up to serve America!

    December 24, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Blue America

    Please end this war so we can bring our brave men and women home again. More diplomacy and less aggression in 2009.

    December 24, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. gbywms

    I just love my new President
    Have a Wonderful Holiday Mr. President!

    December 24, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. God Help Us

    I hope Obama's obvious connection to the corruption case with Governor Blago isn't an indication of what the future holds. I wonder if Blago has dirt on Obama?

    December 24, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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