Bush Thanks Armed Forces in Holiday Radio Address

WASHINGTON -- Heading toward his final Christmas in office, President George W. Bush says the nation should remember the holidays are a time to thank the men and women of the military for their sacrifice. 

"Regardless of where they are, our men and women in uniform and the families who support them remind us of a clear lesson: Defending freedom is a full-time job," the president said in his Saturday radio address, released by the White House in advance of the holiday. 

"Our enemies do not take holidays," Bush said. "So the members of our armed forces stand ready to protect our freedom at any hour. For their service, they have the thanks of a grateful nation -- this Christmas and always." 

The president recalled the Christmas night in 1776, when George Washington planned a surprise attack on British forces by crossing the icy Delaware River at Trenton, N.J. Bush said the Washington-led victory in that battle launched a turnaround in the American Revolution. 

"His legacy lives on in the men and women of the United States military," Bush said. "Some of them are spending this holiday helping defend emerging democracies like Iraq and Afghanistan. Others are spending it in lands where we defeated tyranny long ago, such as Germany or Japan. And some of them are spending it stateside, recovering in places like Bethesda National Naval Medical Center or Walter Reed." 

Bush left the White House on Tuesday to celebrate the Christmas holiday with his family at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.