Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Christmas Message to the Men and Women of the Armed Forces.

December 24, 1968

IT IS Christmas Eve here in Washington and across the continent as I speak to you.

The signal on which my voice travels to you unites us all--from the White House to the bunker--all along that line which stretches around the globe, where you stand your vigil on the freedoms we cherish.

More than my greetings go out to you on this Christmas Eve. My respect, my admiration, and my appreciation--these I send you in fullest measure from my heart.

No group of Americans has earned their countrymen's gratitude more than you. No generation before you has served the flag with greater devotion. None have borne arms in battle with higher distinction.

It was your destiny to serve your Nation in an hour of grave crisis. To you fell the hard duty of preserving freedom in the agony of war, during a restless time of doubt and of division.

But you have stood as the rock of our resolve that freedom shall endure on this earth.

This Christmas, the world is brightened with the hope of peace. When it comes-when hope turns to substance and the guns are quiet once again--it will come because you have pursued it with your courage and your skill. It will come because you have won it with a steadfast spirit that adds new luster to the honored tradition of American arms.

This will be my last Christmas message to you as your Commander in Chief. But I will remember you all the days of my life, as the patriots who manned the watchtowers in a time of peril, so that all of us might live as free men.

As one who is proud to have served with you, I salute you. And I pray that God will keep watch over all of you, and unite you soon with your families and your loved ones.

Note: The President recorded the message for transmittal by the Armed Forces radio network.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Christmas Message to the Men and Women of the Armed Forces. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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