- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 25, 2013

President Obama and the first lady wished troops a Merry Christmas on Wednesday and thanked them for serving so other Americans can feel safe during the holidays.

“Our extraordinary men and women in uniform are serving so that the rest of us can enjoy the blessings we cherish during the holidays. But that means many of our troops are far from home and far from family,” Mr. Obama said. “So today, we want all of our troops to know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers this holiday season.”

While some troops are away from home, the president pointed out that the end of one war and the winding down of another means many troops are home with their families this year. Now it’s up to the rest of the country to take care of its veterans, Michelle Obama said.

“With more and more of our troops back here at home, now it’s our turn to serve — it’s our turn to step up and show our gratitude for the military families who have given us so much,” she said.

The Obamas called on Americans to make a pledge in 2014 to continue helping out those less fortunate in the communities by volunteering at soup kitchens or buying toys for disadvantaged children.

“For families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what he taught us — to love our neighbors as we would ourselves; to feed the hungry and look after the sick; to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper,” Mr. Obama said. “And for all of us as Americans, regardless of our faith, those are values that can drive us to be better parents and friends, better neighbors and better citizens.”

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