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President, First Lady Wish Troops Happy Holidays

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24, 2011 – During his weekly address on Christmas Eve, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama sent holiday greetings to troops everywhere and their families.

After nearly nine years, the president said, the war in Iraq is over and troops are coming home to reunite with their families this holiday season.

“Let’s take a moment to give thanks for their service, for their families’ service and for our veterans’ service,” he said.

“And let’s say a prayer for all our troops standing post all over the world,” he added, “especially our brave men and women in Afghanistan who are serving, even as we speak, in harm’s way to protect the freedoms and security we hold dear.”

“This holiday season at the White House,” Michelle Obama said, “we wanted to show our thanks with a special holiday tribute to some of the strongest, bravest and most resilient members of our American family –- the men and women who wear our country’s uniform and the families who support them.”

To show how much Americans appreciate the sacrifice and service of veterans, troops and military families, Americans can “visit JoiningForces.gov to find out how you can get involved in your community,” she added.

“Giving of ourselves [and] service to others -– that’s what this season is all about,” the president said, “[and] for my family and millions of Americans, that’s what Christmas is all about.”

The belief in loving and supporting each other is not just at the center of the Christian faith, he added, “it’s shared by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds. It’s why so many of us, every year, volunteer our time to help those most in need, especially our hungry and our homeless.

“So whatever you believe, wherever you’re from, let’s remember the spirit of service that connects us all this season –- as Americans,” Obama said.

“Each of us can do our part to serve our communities and our country,” the president added, “not just today, but every day.”

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