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

Obama radio address remembers troops, unemployed

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Kin (Anaheim, Ca.)

    GOD BLESS AMERICA.... Today I saw people struggling with smiles on their faces. I had nothing to give to them, except a warm MERRY CHRISTMAS. I felt good in doing it. Our lives will get better if we continue to trust in JESUS CHRIST and PRAY that all of our leaders make a positive commitment in getting AMERICA back on solid ground again !!! I have a great feeling that it will be done soon.


    December 24, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. ladyatlaw2

    It is really good that Pres elect Obama, has reached out to so many of us. I, as well as many others whether working or unemployed know that it will take awhile before we see the economy make a turnaround. However, with a president who seems to care as much for others as he does his own family, i guess that i can suck it up.

    Happy Kwanza Pres
    Thanks for the shout

    Ps Keep showing those abs!!!

    December 24, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. gerald

    merry christmas america we will sevive

    December 24, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. linda from South Dakota

    neva regret obama winning, hes the right man to "get er done".....

    December 24, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Tony

    I supported you, I campaigned for you, I got people registered to vote dor the first time for you, I got some republicans to vote Democrat for the first time in their lvise for you.

    I was laid off on OCt. 20 after 10 years on the job. Having an impossible time finding another position. What are you going to do for me?

    December 24, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Tony

    Who's footing the bill for your estate in Hawaiian while on vacation. Must be nice not to have to worry about money or finding a job!

    December 24, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. James

    The hate will commence in 3-2-1.....

    December 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. John Doe

    Remembers the troops? I guess that's why he's pledged to cut military funding by the 10's of billions. What a pathetic, little pandering snake. He wants to increase military deployment to Afghanistan, yet cut funding? Yeah he's remembering the troops alright.

    December 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. ozzy


    December 24, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Gay Marriage

    We will Mr. President. God Bless

    December 24, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Joe Fattal

    Right on brother. You just remember to bring all the troops back in 16 you promise. As far as unemployment as soon as you created those million jobs you promise, than problem solved. Remember you owe us a big favor. We are watching.

    December 24, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. AMBER from OKC

    President Obama... You are the ONLY good thing that has happened during 2008 and I have personally been through a lot of trying times this year, not to mention what the nation has been through. I actually got a job and had a Wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and I believe it is because you were elected President. I had a part in that cause I campaigned for you and voted for you, but I really believe in Karma and in doing good brings good and you are the good that was brought. I am very hopeful for 2009 and the next 8 years to come and am now sleeping much better knowing you are in charge.

    America loves you OBAMA!!

    December 24, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. landandair

    nice message from the president elect.

    December 24, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. janet , ohio

    And I'll bet not one lib is going to criticize him (as they did President Bush) for twice mentioning CHRISTmas, and not once mentioning Kwaanza or Ramadan or Hanukkah, etc, ad nauseum.

    December 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
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