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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 21, 2002

Radio Address by the President to the Nation

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. As families across the nation gather to celebrate Christmas, Laura and I want to extend our best wishes for the holidays. We hope that this Christmas will be a time of happiness in your home, and a time of peace in the world.

In this season, we celebrate with our families and deeply miss love ones who are no longer with us. Thousands of families in our nation are still grieving over the terrible losses that came to them last year on September the 11th. We have not forgotten their loss and we continue to pray for their comfort.

The Christmas season brings a deeper concern for fellow citizens in need. Our country is prosperous, yet we must also remember there are pockets of despair in America. Some men and women are facing the struggles of illness and old age with no one to help them or pray with them. Other Americans fight against terrible addictions. Some young men have no family but a gang. Some teenage moms are abandoned and alone. And some children wonder if anybody loves them.

We all share a responsibility to help, both through our government and through individual acts of compassion. In this season of giving, I hope all Americans will look for opportunities to donate and volunteer where the need is greatest. By reaching out to a neighbor in need, we make our country a more just and generous place.

Our entire nation is also thinking at this time of year of the men and women in the military, many of whom will spend Christmas at posts and bases far from home. They stand between Americans and grave danger. They serve in the cause of peace and freedom. They wear the uniform proudly, and we are so proud of them.

I have met with these idealistic young men and women across America and around the world. I know the sacrifices they make. And in every place they serve, they can know that they have the love of their families and the gratitude of their nation.

At this time of year, we appreciate all the blessings that fill our lives, especially the great blessing that came on a holy night in Bethlehem. The Christmas story speaks to every generation. It is the story of a quiet birth in a little town on the margins of an indifferent empire. Yet that single event set the direction of history and still changes millions of lives.

For over two millennia, Christmas has carried the message that God is with us, and because he is with us we can always live in hope. The world we live in is very different from the world of ancient Bethlehem. Our need for that hope is still unchanged. In all the challenges and dangers of our day, we still seek the promise of peace on Earth.

Thank you for listening and merry Christmas.