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President, first lady send holiday wishes

  |   Dec. 22, 2012 at 6:00 AM
WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama Saturday wished everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thanked the troops for their service.

"This month, more than 90,000 people have come through the White House to see the holiday decorations," Michelle Obama said in the weekly radio and Internet address. "And our theme for this year's holiday season was 'Joy to All' -- a reminder to appreciate the many joys of the holidays: the joy of giving, the joy of service, and, of course, the joy of homecomings. ... That's what makes this season so special -- getting to spend time with the people we love most."

"And this year, that's especially true for some of our military families," Barack Obama said. "You see, the war in Iraq is over. The transition in Afghanistan is under way. After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. And all across America, military families are reuniting. So this week let's give thanks for our veterans and their families. And let's say a prayer for all our troops -- especially those in Afghanistan -- who are spending this holiday overseas, risking their lives to defend the freedoms we hold dear," the president said.

"Our military families sacrifice so much on our behalf, and Barack and I believe that we should serve them as well as they serve this country," the first lady said. "That's why [second lady] Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces an effort to rally all Americans to honor and support our veterans and military families. Just go to joiningforces.gov to find out how you can show your gratitude for their service."

"For my family and millions of Americans, it's a time to celebrate the birth of Christ, to reflect on His life and learn from His example," the president said. "Every year, we commit to love one another. To give of ourselves. To be our brother's keeper. To be our sister's keeper. But those ideas are not just part of our faith. They're part of all faiths. And they unite us as Americans."

"In this country, we take care of each other. And in this season of giving, it's inspiring to see so many people all across America taking the time to help those most in need," Michelle Obama said.

"And this year, I know many of you are extending that kindness to the families who are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy and your prayers to the people of Newtown, Connecticut. ... And on behalf of my favorite Americans -- Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Bo -- Merry Christmas, everybody," the president said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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