The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 6, 2007

President Bush Attends Lighting of the National Christmas Tree Ceremony

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  Presidential Remarks

      Holidays at the White House 2007

5:55 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary, thank you for that kind introduction. And thank you all for joining us. Laura and I are pleased to welcome you on this joyous occasion. As the Secretary said, in a few moments, we will light the National Christmas Tree -- and as he also said, this is a tradition that dates back to President Calvin Coolidge.

There's one person with us today who remembers that first annual Christmas tree lighting -- and, Santa, we are glad you're here. (Laughter.) We know this is a busy time of year for you, and we're thrilled you're here, and we really appreciate you bringing Mrs. Claus. (Applause.) Both you and I married well. (Laughter.)

I appreciate the members of my Cabinet for joining us; members of the Congress. I want to thank Vin Cipolla, Mary Bomar. I particularly want to thank the men and women who work for the National Park Service. (Applause.)

Pastor, thank you for your blessing. I believe these entertainers didn't disappoint anyone. We're proud you're here, and thank you for your beautiful music.

Christmas is a time of rejoicing and reflection. Each year at this time, we rejoice in the proclamation of good news, that in Bethlehem of Judea, a Savior was born. And we rejoice in the Christmas promise of peace to men of goodwill. We also reflect on the mystery of Christmas: the story of the Almighty, who entered history in the most vulnerable form possible -- hidden in the weakness of a newborn child. And we reflect on the call of our Creator -- who by taking this form, reminds us of our duty to protect and care for the weak and the vulnerable among us.

During this Christmas season, millions of Americans will answer this call by reaching out a compassionate hand to help brothers and sisters in need. We are thankful for these good souls who show the good heart of our nation. We're also thankful for the thousands of Americans who answer the call by serving our nation in uniform. (Applause.) Many will spend this Christmas stationed in distant and dangerous lands, far from homes and from the families they love. They are never far from our thoughts, and they're always in our prayers. America honors their sacrifice, and that of their families who also serve our nation. We're grateful for all they do to ensure that we live in the freedom our Creator intended for every man, woman, and child on the face of this Earth.

And now, as an expression of our hope for peace in this Christmas season, we're going to light the National Christmas Tree. (Applause.) And we have asked two young Americans to join us. Brianna Kinder helps others through her participation in the Montgomery County Police Activities League's "Kids Care Club." (Applause.) And Damarcus Hawkins gives his time as part of the Discovery Creek Children's Museum service-learning program.

And now, if Brianna and Damarcus will join Laura, and if you will join me in a countdown -- five, four, three, two, one.

(The tree is lit.) (Applause.)

END 6:00 P.M. EST

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