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. Griff

    So I wasted 15mts.... On Feed-Back. Praise Him... Your Mess, Obama!
    But you will all be hiding a year from now.... I know this! You???
    You have to live in Africa; to know Africa...... You have never set foot on African soil.... Barack Obama is doomed... I will be here next Christmas: you? I don't think so.... You are so protective of this idiot; Obama..,.. Live and Learn.... Don't have me waste my time, if your too Biggoted...

    December 24, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Aw man, I read this and started crying, I couldn't stop as I read it! I know that despite the hell we are going through, we will be okay and will prosper economically and as a nation in the next year. God Bless you and your family Obama! I am truly inspired by this new President!

    December 24, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Truth

    Well said.

    December 24, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Anonymous


    December 24, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. D Arowora

    This is a remarkable statement coming from our President- elect,and I wish all the success during his tenor in the office.

    December 24, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. rick

    sounds like a kiss up from someone who has something they are covering up

    December 24, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Karl Hussein

    I welcome his kind words and have shared them with family. Thank you Mr. President-Elect and Lady Obama. 🙂

    December 24, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    A great address.....I sincerely hope that he DOES follow through and bring GENUINE change to American government long ago hijacked by secretive high financiers like the Bilderbergers and others that make vast wealth by keeping our nation at war around the world, and by making working Americans slave to a new serfdom of unimaginable debt and fiat currency. We have seen the Founding Fathers' dream degenerate into a government of the rich and powerful, by the rich and powerful, and for the rich and powerful, with the rest of us "collateral damage" in their wars of choice and profit, rigged elections in 2000 and 2004, and bailouts of their own with OUR money. Our new president stands on the cusp of history....don't let us down Mr. Obama!

    December 24, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Obama can read well

    Don't get excited folks; the speech was written by somebody else; Obama is just a talented reader

    December 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Griff

    BarackObama was not Born, in any state of the USA.... He's Black!
    The Black's need to Prove their past: even they have to lie.. The first Kenyan, ever to to find their way in this world.... Why did not Kentatta ever get this far.... No it a took a Liar!!!!!

    December 24, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Bring the troops home

    DoJust bring the troops home Mr Obama/ Afghanistan Vietnem x 10. If Atilla the Hund, Alexander the Great, and 100,000 Russian soldiers could not win there, the US cannot gain a military victory either. Just get out of the Mid East altogether – and quickly.

    The US and its history of regime change and Mideast policy has been a flop for over 30 years, and it is not going to change.

    The US once supported the Shah of Iran against Iraq – how did that work out.

    We once supported Iraq against Iran.

    We supported Osama Bin Laded (yup, true) in Afghanistan against the Russians.

    The names and faces may change, but the Mideast has been embroiled in religious hatred and was for 3,000 years. Just get us out; bring the troops home, and work towards becoming an energy independent country; and tighten Homeland Security.

    December 24, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Meka

    Happy Holidays to you and your Family, President Elect Obama

    December 24, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. D Arowora

    This is a remarkable statement coming from our President- elect,and I wish him all the success during his tenor in the office.

    December 24, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. SR

    Great message to the people of our Great nation. Lets join hands as one people to help OUR new Administration rise above our differances for the better good of ALL. May peace be with us ALL through these troubled times. HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON. 🙂

    December 24, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. mary

    Very good. Now let's watch the Obama bashers on here have something negative to say even about this address.

    December 24, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. M. Taylor

    The best to you and your family and the people of the USA as your administration and they face the challenges ahead. I am convinced that you will lead by good example Mr. President-Elect and that having personally felt the brunt of prejuidice you will be able to help bridge some of the divides that are currently rearing their ugly "heads". You will never please all the people all the time, only some of the people some of the time but as long as no one's rights is being trampled through policies/law set, then that will be the best one can do. You showed grace and tolerance throughout your campaign and the election and I know you will do the same as President.

    December 24, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. strong

    You would almost think Obama was already the president, the way he acts and talks! It is not January 20th yet, Barky. Hold your horses, you'll have 4 years to call the shots.

    December 24, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Mike in Dallas


    December 24, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. sharon lindsay

    that was very well written and i am grateful for president elect obama i as a baby boomer support him and all americans should do so GOD BLESS AMERICA sharon lindsay

    December 24, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Obama---one term and gone---

    Obama cannot solve the economic problems-unemployment and foreclosure rates will rise and the people will soon sour on him--

    Next time around he will not have the support of gays and liberals, and consequently he will fall.

    December 24, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. A Woman In California For Obama

    Thank you PE Obama. I'm glad we will finally have an intelligent president. It's been 16 years since we had one. I'm sure your message is very enlightening.

    December 24, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. S. Dukes

    God Bless Obama

    December 24, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Denise

    Its all for show and for personal gain. I do not think he is sincere, nor do I think any President in recent times have been sincere. Anyone that spends almost a billion dollars to get elected, then its more for their ego than to help people.

    December 24, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. ysidero

    i think obama's radio address hit just the right tone of hope and inclusiveness. the president-elect talked about the true spirit of this season, in terms that people of all faiths can relate to and embrace. in contrast, it's sad but predictable that dubya's remarks typified the evangelical absolutism that has permeated his disastrous administration. i hope we as a nation learned a lesson from the last 8 years – and that we move on to reclaim our place as a beacon of freedom, democracy, and justice.

    December 24, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. louann couch

    I thank God that we have Barack Obama for our President. I feel that the calling America has to be great and lead, can now be implemented. The World is looking to our people as well to step up. Merry and Holy Christmas everyone! Let's go change the world!

    December 24, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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