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.
``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,'' he said.
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.''
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In the Democrats' weekly broadcast, the senior member of the party's New York congressional delegation said the Sept. 11 attacks inflicted enduring pain on the country, but the United States will weather that challenge as it has done throughout its history.
``We are a strong people and, even as the tears flow, we are determined to hold our families together, rebuild our city and our nation and set an example for the free world that we will never give in to terrorists,'' Rep. Charles Rangel said.
But, in a reference to the thwarted economic stimulus plan, Rangel also said the nation's leaders have a responsibility to deal with the ailing economy without caving into to special interests.
``We just ask that the same level of energy that we invest in putting up the flag and protecting it must be applied to protecting the economic security of the millions of Americans who have worked hard every day, and are now out of work through no fault of their own,'' Rangel said. ``Putting aside the small differences that separate us and helping those in need is what the holiday season is all about.''
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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.''