As we begin the new year, our prayers go out to the people who have lost so much to the recent series of disasters in the Indian Ocean region. The past few days have brought loss and grief to the world that is beyond our comprehension. America will continue to stand with the affected governments to bring aid to those in need. Together the world will cope with the loss and prevail over this destruction.
In the United States, we go forward in the new year with confidence and faith in the future.
Over the past year, Americans have shown resolve and patience in the war on terror. Our military men and women have brought justice to the enemy and honor to our country. Because of their bravery, over 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan are now free. At home, Americans have restored the vigor of our economy and answered the call to serve neighbors in need.
In the year ahead, we will persevere in the ongoing war on terror to make our nation safer and stronger. We will continue to confront disease, hunger and poverty at home and abroad. We will build on our economic progress and strengthen Social Security for the next generation so that all our citizens can realize the promise of America. And we will continue to improve our public schools and uphold our deepest values of faith, family and service.
We are grateful to the men and women of our armed forces who serve and sacrifice to defend our liberty. These heroes and their families have the thanks and respect of our entire nation. We pray for their safety and for peace and understanding throughout the world.
Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a happy New Year. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.