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Bush Remembers Deployed Troops During Tree-Lighting Ceremony

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2005 – President Bush remembered America's deployed servicemembers who he said are "serving the cause of peace" during the Dec. 1 Christmas Pageant of Peace and lighting of the national Christmas tree here.

"We ask for God to watch over our men and women in uniform who are serving overseas," Bush said during the ceremony on the Ellipse. "Their families miss them, hold a seat open for them and pray for their safe return."

America's men and women stand for freedom and serve the cause of peace, he said.

"Many of them are serving in distant lands tonight, but they are close to our hearts," he said.

"As we approach Christmas in this time of war, we pray for freedom and justice and peace on earth," the president said.

Bush recalled President Franklin Roosevelt's address to the nation during Christmas Eve in 1941, weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States' entry into World War II.

"Against enemies who preach the principles of hate and practice them, we set our faith in human love and in God's care for us and all men everywhere," Bush said, quoting Roosevelt.

Following his statement, the president and first lady flicked a switch, illuminating the 40-foot Colorado blue spruce that stands just south of the White House.

It will remain in place and open for public visits through the holiday season.

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