The following is President Bush's New Year's Day 2006 message as released by the White House:
PRESIDENT BUSH: The New Year is a time of hope as we reflect on the past and prepare for the future.
The great strength of our nation lies in the hearts and souls of the American people. This past year, Americans responded with an outpouring of compassion to help the people of the Gulf Coast region recover from one of the most devastating natural disasters in our nation's history. We remember the victims of the past year's hurricanes and give thanks for the millions of people who opened their hearts, homes, and communities to those in need.
In the past year, we continued our work to spread freedom and peace. In 2005, Iraqis three times exercised their right to vote in free elections, and the Afghan people conducted successful parliamentary elections. In the coming year, America will continue to stand beside these young democracies and lay the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren.
We appreciate the brave men and women in uniform who protect our country and advance freedom around the world. We are grateful to their families for their support and sacrifice, and we pray for all those who have lost loved ones in freedom's cause. Our nation will always remember the heroes who have given their lives to protect us all.
As we celebrate the New Year, we give thanks to God for his blessings and ask for his guidance. We look with hope to the year ahead and the many new opportunities the future will bring.
Laura and I send our best wishes for a happy New Year. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.