Weekly remarks: GOP's Joe Pitts hails those who serve our communities and country (updated)
As of publication time Friday, the Democratic weekly remarks have not arrived from the Hawaii White House. They will be added if and when received.
UPDATE: 3 a.m. Sat.:
THE PRESIDENT: Merry Christmas, everybody. Michelle and I just wanted to take a moment today to send greetings from our family to yours.
THE FIRST LADY: This is one of our favorite times of year. And we’re so fortunate to be able to celebrate it together in this wonderful home.
This is the “People’s House.” So Barack and I try to open it to as many people as we can, especially during the holiday season.
This month, more than 100,000 Americans have passed through these halls. And the idea....
So in this time of family, friends, and good cheer; let’s also be sure to look out for those who are less fortunate, who’ve hit a run of bad luck, or who are hungry and alone this holiday season.
THE PRESIDENT: Because this is the season when we celebrate the simplest yet most profound gift of all: the birth of a child who devoted his life to a message of peace, love, and redemption. A message that says no matter who we are, we are called to love one another – we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, our separate stories in this big and busy world are really one.
Today, we’re also thinking of those who can’t be home for the holidays – especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas.
That’s the message I delivered when I visited our troops in Afghanistan a few weeks ago – that while you may be serving far from home, every American supports you and your families. We’re with you. And I have no greater honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.
Today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen make up the finest fighting force in the history of the world. Just like their predecessors, they do extraordinary things in service to their country. What makes that all the more remarkable is that today’s military is an all-volunteer force – a force of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
THE FIRST LADY: That’s right. As First Lady, I’ve had the honor to meet members of our military and their families on bases and in communities all across the country. I’ve gotten to know husbands and wives doing the parenting of two while their spouse is on another deployment…children trying their best in school but always wondering when mom or dad is coming home…patriots putting their lives on hold to help with a loved one’s recovery…or carry on the memory of a fallen hero.
When our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve, too. And they’re proud and glad to do it. But as long as that service keeps the rest of us safe, their sacrifice should also be our own. Even heroes can use a hand, especially during the holidays.
THE PRESIDENT: So we’re encouraging Americans to ask what you can do to support our troops and their families in this holiday season. For some ideas on how to get started, just visit Serve.gov.
THE FIRST LADY: You’ll see that you don’t need to be an expert in military life to give back to those who give so much to us. There are countless ways to contribute by harnessing your unique talents.
If you live near a base, you can reach out through your local school or church. If you don’t, you can volunteer with organizations that support military families. And anybody can send a care package or pre-paid calling card to the front lines, or give what’s sometimes the most important gift of all: simply saying “thank you.”
THE PRESIDENT: America’s brave servicemen and women represent a small fraction of our population. But they and the families who await their safe return carry far more than their fair share of the burden. They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do. They’ve been everything we’ve asked them to be. And even as we speak, many are fighting halfway around the globe – in hopes that someday, our children and grandchildren won’t have to.
So let’s all remind them this holiday season that we’re thinking of them – and that America will forever be here for them, just as they’ve been there for us.
And on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha…
THE FIRST LADY: and Bo…
THE PRESIDENT: and Bo…have a very Merry Christmas.
THE FIRST LADY: and an even happier New Year. ####
Hello, I’m Joe Pitts, and I have the great honor of serving the people of Pennsylvania’s Sixteenth Congressional District.
As another year comes to a close, the American people rise to meet the challenges of our time with resolve and determination. Before tackling the challenges that lie ahead, we join together to reflect on our blessings.
Behind the splendor of the Christmas season lies a simple and inspiring story of how a single birth spread a message of love and salvation throughout the world – one that continues to resonate across this and other lands.
In this time of year when we gather to celebrate family and fellowship, we are reminded of the fulfillment that comes from humbly serving one another.
We see it in our servicemembers who raise their hands and volunteer for extraordinary tasks in the defense of freedom. Many of these brave men and women are spending this holiday season far from our shores.
As a Vietnam veteran myself, I know the stress of being separated at this time of year. To those wearing the uniform in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world at this hour, know that we are behind you and we join your loved ones in praying for your safe return home.
To those standing watch closer to home –- all the doctors, nurses, and emergency responders working around the clock, we thank you as well. We don’t always realize how much these tireless individuals give of themselves to patients and their families.
The story of Christmas also reminds us of the radiant glory of human life.
Scriptures tell us, ‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’
As we look ahead to the new year, let us resolve to do all that is within our power to share the light of life here and throughout the world.
Because when we affirm the joy and dignity of life, we affirm our commitment to freedom, and to those in dark corners who seek its protection.
Let us resolve to keep our pledge to honor families, marriage, and the faith and values upon which this great nation was founded.
And let us strive to listen to one another, to treat one another with dignity and respect, and to do our part to see that the promise of the American Dream is fully realized for our children and their children.
May the peace and goodwill of this holiday season be with you and yours. Thank you for listening. Merry Christmas. ####
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Photos: National Christmas tree. Credit: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press; Capitol Christmas tree Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images; Pitts' office.