U.S. President Barack Obama - like his predecessors at the White House - is reaching out to military men and women far from home during this holiday season. In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president urges all Americans to do the same at Christmas and throughout the year.
President Obama says he knows times are tough as the nation strives to pull out of the economic recession. But he says there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.
"The love of family and friends, the bonds of community and country, and the character and courage of our men and women in uniform who are far from home for the holidays," he said.
The president says he is awed by their selfless spirit and eagerness to serve.
"I've been energized by your dedication to duty - from Baghdad to the Korean Peninsula," he added.
He says he also has been moved by the determination shown by war wounded he has met in military hospitals, and humbled by the stories of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In his weekly radio and Internet address - released early to coincide with Christmas - the president urges all Americans to remember the troops during the holidays. Michelle Obama - sharing the address for the first time - asked for support for military families, recalling her own visits to bases around the country.
"I've met kids who wonder when mom or dad is coming home; grandparents and relatives who step in to care for our wounded warriors; and folks trying to carry on after losing the person they love most in the world," she said.
Before recording the address, President Obama placed Christmas Eve calls to 10 members of the U.S. armed forces involved in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. They included two service members from each of the five military branches.