Good morning. This week before Christmas was a busy one in Washington, DC. Members of Congress have returned home with many achievements to show for their work. Congress passed, and I will soon sign, the most important education reforms in a generation. We have taken strong action to support our military, protect our homeland, and make our airways more secure. The year 2001 also saw the largest tax relief in two decades.
These achievements bring credit to the Congress, and I'm grateful for their work. I'm disappointed, however, that the Senate was not able to pass legislation to get our economy growing again and to help workers who have lost their jobs. I'm hopeful that the positive spirit of bipartisan accomplishment that guided much of this year's success will prevail when Congress returns early next year.
Our thoughts in these coming days, however, do not center on public policy. Millions of Americans will be celebrating Christmas, marking an ancient birth of an eternal promise of peace on Earth and good will to men. This Christmas comes just months after a great national loss. 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.
For the families that lost a loved one on September the 11th or in the fighting in Afghanistan, this will be the first Christmas without a husband or a wife or a father or a mother or son or daughter. Our Nation shares their grief.
Many thousands of our fighting men and women will spend Christmas far from home, accepting hardship and danger to protect us all. We are grateful to every military family for the sacrifice they are making for America. We owe them much.
Our Nation is also thankful for the people of every faith, in every community, who make a special effort this time of year to help neighbors in need. So many goodhearted Americans are giving time or money to make sure that there's a hot meal for homeless people, a Christmas present for disadvantaged children, food for the hungry in foreign lands, or just a visit to bring comfort to someone who is lonely or sick.
The year now ending saw a few acts of terrible evil. 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.
Laura and I wish a very joyous holiday to all Americans. May the peace and good will of the season fill every heart and warm every home.
Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.