Obama Urges Renewed ‘Sense of Common Purpose’ in Holiday Message

December 25, 2008 at 4:55 am Leave a comment

barack-obama.112.jpgReporting from Honolulu — President-elect Barack Obama used a holiday radio address released Wednesday to remember the nation’s troops serving overseas and citizens at home who are struggling amid a troubled economy.

“Many troops are serving their second, third, or even fourth tour of duty,” Obama said in a recording scheduled for broadcast Saturday. “This holiday season, their families celebrate with a joy that is muted, knowing that a loved one is absent and sometimes in danger.”
Obama, who is vacationing on his native island of Oahu, also talked about what those away from home are missing.
“In towns and cities across America, there is an empty seat at the dinner table,” he said. “In distant bases and on ships at sea, our servicemen and -women can only wonder at the look on their child’s face as they open a gift back home.”
The president-elect has been spending time with troops stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, where he has gone every morning of his vacation for a workout at a fitness center.
He spent a few minutes shaking hands and greeting about 60 people gathered in a parking lot outside the fitness center on Christmas Eve.
“Hey, man, how’s it going?” he asked one person before wishing everyone “Mele Kalikimaka,” a Hawaiian transliteration of “Merry Christmas.”
Then Obama turned to some children and asked, “You guys got your Christmas lists all together?”
In the radio address, Obama said there was a need for collective sacrifice during this time of economic duress: “That is why this season of giving should also be a time to renew a sense of common purpose and shared citizenship. Now, more than ever, we must rededicate ourselves to the notion that we share a common destiny as Americans.”
Obama said that was the spirit that would guide his administration.
“If the American people come together and put their shoulder to the wheel of history, then I know that we can put our people back to work and point our country in a new direction,” he said. “That is how we will see ourselves through this time of crisis, and reach the promise of a brighter day.”
The president-elect recalled an American moment more than 200 years ago, when George Washington and his army faced steep odds to free themselves from the grip of the British Empire.
“It was Christmas Day — Dec. 25, 1776 — that they fought through ice and cold to make an improbable crossing of the Delaware River,” he said. “Many ages have passed since that first American Christmas. We have crossed many rivers as a people. But the lessons that have carried us through are the same lessons that we celebrate every Christmas season — the same lessons that guide us to this very day: that hope endures, and that a new birth of peace is always possible.”
Source: LATimes
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