December 2006 - Volume 11, Issue 5

Remarks Broadcast For The Pageant Of Peace Ceremonies In Washington
December 18, 1955


A photo of Christmas ornament with the word PeaceMy fellow Americans at home and across the seas; my fellow men and women of every nation:

For hundreds of millions of us, Christmas symbolizes our deepest aspirations for peace and for goodwill among men.

For me, this particular Christmas has a very special meaning, and has brought to me, really, new understandings of people.

During the past three months my family and I have received literally thousands-tens of thousands of messages. Each of these has borne a sentence of good wishes and goodwill for health and happiness to us both. It has been heartwarming evidence that human understanding and human sympathy can surmount every obstacle-even those obstacles that some governments sometimes seem to raise in the attempt to divide us.

Now the free world is just coming to the close of a very significant year, one in which we have worked hard and sometimes effectively for peace. Now the facts of today, of course, do not measure up to the high hopes of the free world, the hopes by which we have lived and which we have long entertained. But this Christmas is, nevertheless, brighter in its background and its promise for the future than any we have known in recent years. I think it is even better than last year, and you will remember that Christmas was the first one in many years that was not marred by the tragic incidents of war.

Now peace is the right of every human being. It is hungered for by all of the peoples of the earth. So we can be sure that tonight in the fullness of our hearts and in the spirit of the season, that as we utter a simple prayer for peace we will be joined by the multitudes of the earth.

Those multitudes will include rulers as well as the humblest citizens of lands; the great and the meek; the proud and the poor; the successful and the failures; the dispirited and the hopefuls.

Now each of those prayers will of course differ according to the characteristics and the personality of the individual uttering it, but running through every single one of those prayers will be a thought something of this kind:

May each of us strive to do our best to bring about better understanding in the world. And may the infinite peace from above live with us and be ours forever, and may we live in the confident hope that it will come.

And so it is tonight in that hope, which must never die from the earth, which we must cling to and cherish and nurture and work for, that I light the National Community Christmas Tree at the Pageant of Peace in Washington.

To each of you –wherever you may be– from Mrs. Eisenhower and me: a very Merry Christmas!

Photo of a red bow and ribbon