Bill Clinton photo

Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree

December 09, 1993

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to begin my remarks by asking that we recognize the years of devotion that Joe Riley has given to this Pageant of Peace. Let's give him a big hand. [Applause]

This has been a wonderful night for Hillary and for Chelsea and for me. I thank Sandy Duncan for doing such a wonderful job in her tennis shoes; I think she looked sort of graceful limping out there. The DC Choral Kaleidoscope was wonderful. And I think Willard Scott is a perfect Santa Claus. You know, he will take any excuse to wear hair. [Laughter] But he looked beautiful. I'm especially glad to see my friends Charley Pride and Phil Driscoll. I thank them for being here. I thought they were terrific, as was the Air Force Band that I'm proud of as the President very, very much. Thank you all so much for what you've done.

In this Pageant of Peace we come together in the spirit of our better selves, wishing that somehow, some way, we could feel the way we feel tonight and in this Christmas season, every day, all year long. We are joined by simple and universal convictions: a shared faith, a shared joy, a shared commitment now to follow the directions of our faith, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to be grateful for what we have, to wish that others had it, and to take some time to give more of ourselves to others.

I ask tonight that all of us, each in our own way, express our gratitude to the men and women of our Armed Forces who are overseas in this Christmas season, to all those who serve us here in the United States, to our families and friends, and to all those to whom we could give a little something extra.

But most of all, because of all the difficulties we have had in the United States in these last couple of years, with violence in our own land affecting not only adults but more and more of our children, I ask tonight, at this Pageant of Peace, that we pray in this Christmas season that we be given the wisdom and the courage, the heart, the renewed sense of common humanity, to do what we can to bring more peace to the streets, the homes, and the hearts of our own people and especially our children. That is something that would be perfectly consistent with the faith and the life we celebrate tonight, something we could take out of this Christmas season that would be the greatest gift we could ever give to ourselves, to our children, and to our beloved land.

Thank you. God bless you all. And now I'd like to ask my family to come up and help me to light the Christmas tree.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:50 p.m. on the Ellipse. In his remarks, he referred to entertainers Sandy Duncan, Willard Scott, Charley Pride, and Phil Driscoll.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives