After rough year, Obama seeks Christmas cheer



WASHINGTON - After months dealing with economic misery, soaring unemployment, and a war going wrong, President Barack Obama sought solace in the season Thursday, by lighting the US national Christmas tree.
Obama performed the ceremonial duty, which dates back to 1923, for the first time, as he, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha pushed a button to illuminate the 30 foot (10 meters) Colorado blue spruce.



After rough year, Obama seeks Christmas cheer
The president said the tree "will shine its light far beyond our cities and our shores to every American around the world."
"Tonight our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women who will be spending this holiday far away from home, the mothers and fathers, the sons and daughters of our military who risk their lives every day to keep us safe."
"Let's also remember our neighbors who are struggling here at home, those who have lost a job, or a home, a friend or a loved one," Obama said at the ceremony on the Ellipse, a park area south of the White House.
Obama's schedule this week has provided a stark reminder of the challenges facing his presidency, after his announcement of a 30,000 strong troop surge to Afghanistan and a White House summit focusing on 10.2 percent unemployment.
The first US national Christmas tree was lit by then president Calvin Coolidge on Christmas Eve, 1923, and the tradition has continued ever since.
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Friday, December 4th 2009
AFP
           


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