At a time when it
seems all the news stories report one more governmental entity bending
to pressure by some to get rid of the word Christmas, here’s news that
President Barrack Obama is not politically correct–at least not this
time. On Thursday he and his family lit the “National Christmas
Tree”–the 88th time this tradition has taken place at the White
House. Here is the official transcript of the President’s remarks he made
on the Ellipse outside the White House at 5:18 p.m.:
THE PRESIDENT: Merry
AUDIENCE: Merry Christmas!
THE PRESIDENT: Happy
holidays. We are just thrilled to have all of you here.
Thank you, Secretary Salazar, for
the kind introduction and for all that you’re doing to protect our national
parks and our public lands for the future generations. I also want to
recognize Neil Mulholland and everyone at the National Park Foundation and at
the National Park Service who helped put this event together.
I want to thank Pastor Darrell Morton for that wonderful
invocation, and of course, thanks to Common and all of tonight’s performers for
joining us here as we light the National Christmas Tree for the 88th
This is a very proud holiday tradition. Snow or shine,
in good times and in periods of hardship, folks like you have gathered with
Presidents to light our national tree. Now, it hasn’t always gone off
without a hitch. On one occasion, two sheep left the safety of the
Nativity scene and wandered into rush-hour traffic. (Laughter.)
That caused some commotion. (Laughter.)
Often, the ceremony itself has reflected the pain and
sacrifice of the times. There were years during the Second World War when
no lights were hung, in order to save electricity. In the days following
Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill joined President Roosevelt to wish our nation a
Happy Christmas even in such perilous days.
But without fail, each year, we have gathered here.
Each year we’ve come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two
millennia. It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but
it’s a message that’s universal: A child was born far from home to spread
a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world.
It’s a message that says no matter who we are or where we are
from, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love
one another as brothers and as sisters.
And so during a time in which we try our hardest to live with
a spirit of charity and goodwill, we remember our brothers and sisters who have
lost a job or are struggling to make ends meet. We pray for the men and
women in uniform serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and in faraway places who
can’t be home this holiday season. And we thank their families, who will
mark this Christmas with an empty seat at the dinner table.
On behalf of Malia, Sasha, Michelle, Marian — who’s our
grandmother-in-chief — (laughter) -– and Bo — don’t forget Bo —
(applause) — I wish all of you a merry Christmas and a blessed holiday
And now I’m going to invite the entire Obama crew up here to
help me light this Christmas tree. (Applause.)
All right, everybody, we’re going to count from five — five,
four, three, two, one.
(The tree is lit.) (Applause.)
Merry Christmas, everybody!