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Bush Thanks US Troops on Christmas Eve


President Bush is spending a quiet Christmas with members of his family at Camp David - the U.S. presidential retreat near Washington. VOA White House correspondent Paula Wolfson reports Mr. Bush placed Christmas eve calls to American servicemen and women abroad.

The president called 10 members of the military from all branches of the armed forces.

Spokeswoman Dana Perino says he wanted to thank them for their service, and wish them a merry Christmas and happy New Year.

She says the military personnel who took part in the conference call are stationed around the world - including Iraq, Afghanistan and aboard navy and coast guard ships at sea.

Perino says the president told them that he is proud to serve as their commander in chief, and that he appreciates their sacrifices and those of their families.

The calls to members of the military have become a Christmas Eve tradition for President Bush. They are part of a holiday celebration for the Bush family that is spent in virtual seclusion at Camp David - a short helicopter ride from the nation's capital.

Those joining the president and the first lady for a holiday feast of turkey and all the trimmings include their twin daughters and Mrs. Bush's mother. On Wednesday, they will travel to Texas to ring in the New Year at the president's ranch.