President Bush has called on Americans to remember those less fortunate, including hurricane victims, as well as U.S. servicemen in Iraq and elsewhere over the Christmas holiday.
President Bush says Christmas is a time of joy and peace, and the holiday season is a time to give thanks: "In this great and prosperous land, we have so much to be thankful for, and Christmas reminds us of our obligation to share these blessings with others. There are many among us who are hurting and require a helping hand."
Mr. Bush urged Americans to remember those who suffered as a result of hurricanes and other disasters that struck the United States over the last year. In his weekly radio address, delivered from the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington, Mr.
Bush also said Americans should be grateful for those in uniform serving in harm's way.
Mr. Bush said, "We think with pride of the men and women of our Armed Forces, who are keeping our nation safe and defending freedom around the world. In Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, they are protecting our liberty by spreading liberty to others, and all Americans are grateful to our troops for their courage and commitment."
The president paid special tribute to those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom and, as he put it, "rescued millions from lives from tyranny and sorrow."
Mr. Bush also urged greater volunteerism and compassion in the year to come.
A devout Christian, the president said that Christmas is a time to "give thanks for the birth of Christ." In recent years, some American Christians have complained that direct references to Christ and Christmas are being dropped by political leaders, the
business community and the general population in favor of more generic greetings, like "happy holidays" that are not religion-specific.
The president and Mrs. Bush will spend Christmas at Camp David, then head to their ranch in Crawford, Texas Monday.
Carolina Representative James Clyburn decried recent legislation passed by the
Republican-controlled Congress to cut spending on government programs for the poor while extending tax breaks for the wealthy. He said the fiscal policies are indefensible, especially in a time of war: "Every time our nation has gone to war, we have called on American citizens from all walks of life to make sacrifices. But not this time. While our brave young men and women fight to protect our freedoms, Republicans are cutting services to their families back home while giving people of great means unfair and unneeded tax cuts."
President Bush has said that tax cuts are needed to keep the American economy growing.