Good morning. This is Evan Bayh, United States senator from Indiana.
This weekend, across America, the holiday season is in full- swing. Malls are filled with last-minute shoppers, airports are packed with holiday travelers, and families have gathered to reconnect and enjoy this wondrous holiday season.
In my family, the holidays have always been a time to remember what's important in our lives and to count our blessings.
As a nation, we can count many blessings this year, but at the top of our list are the brave men and women serving in the United States military. Whether serving here at home, in Iraq and Afghanistan, or elsewhere overseas, the members of our armed forces are the finest in the world. This holiday season, they and their families are in our prayers.
This weekend, we also remember those soldiers who've made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Their deaths are felt even more during the holidays. In honor of their sacrifices, we should rededicate ourselves this season to work to make peace on Earth have true meaning, by bringing stability to places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur.
Whatever your religion, the coming week offers us a chance to take stock. We can look back at the past year and set new goals for the one to come. Together, we can use this time of year to reconcile our differences, set partisanship aside, and remember what we all cherish - our family, our faith and our country.
In the spirit of this season, we should remember that we have more in common than the differences that divide us. I am often reminded of something I once heard from an old civil rights leader: "We may have arrived on these shores in different ships, but we're all in the same boat now."
I'm pleased to say that, following a bitter and partisan election, Democrats and Republicans in Washington are beginning to reach out and come together once again.
Just this past week, President Bush remarked that Americans want to see more bipartisan cooperation, and he pledged to reach out to Democrats to achieve our common goals. My fellow Democrats should welcome this pledge and hold him to it. There is much we can accomplish in the New Year, if only we can work together for America.
We must continue to do everything in our power to keep America safe and strong. We must find ways to provide more opportunities for middle-class families and our neighbors who are struggling to achieve the American dream. And we must not be afraid to take on great challenges, like achieving energy independence, expanding access to health care, and finding ways to make college education more affordable.
There is a lot of work before us, but I am confident that if we heal these divisions we can become a better America. From energy independence to national security, 2007 promises to be a very busy year. And by working together, there's no limit to what we can accomplish.
I'm Evan Bayh. Happy Holidays, and thank you for listening.