WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush said Saturday he would like Americans to pause to "remember all those who feel loss, separation and need" at Christmas following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Bush used his weekly radio address to laud Congress for approving education reforms, tax relief and various measures to protect the country from future terrorism, and to bemoan the fact that the Senate did not pass a Republican-crafted economic stimulus plan.
But right now, the president said, Americans are more concerned with the "eternal promise of peace on Earth and goodwill to men" that Christmas represents. The holiday takes on a special poignance in light of the terrorist tragedy that claimed thousands of lives last fall, he said.
"This Christmas comes just months after a great national loss," Bush said. "We find ourselves appreciating more than ever the things that matter most -- our families, our friends and our faith. We count our blessings, and we remember all those who feel loss, separation and need."
Bush said the entire country shares the grief of those whose loved ones perished in the Pentagon, in the World Trade Center, aboard the four hijacked planes and during military action in Afghanistan.
And the country appreciates those serving in the military campaign overseas, "accepting hardship and danger to protect us all," he said. "We owe them much."
"The year now ending saw a few acts of terrible evil," Bush said. "It also saw many more acts of courage and kindness and love. And these reflect the great hope of Christmas -- a light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it."
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