updated 11/27/2004 8:18:47 PM ET 2004-11-28T01:18:47

President Bush issued a holiday-season call on Americans to volunteer and give to charity — “to share our blessings with the least among us.”

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He singled out for special praise those who have given time and energy to U.S. troops stationed around the world.

“The greatest challenges of our time have come to the men and women who protect our nation,” Bush said in his weekly radio address Saturday.

“Like generations before them, today’s armed forces have liberated captive peoples and shown compassion for the suffering and delivered hope to the oppressed,” Bush said. “In the past year, they have fought the terrorists abroad so that we do not have to face those enemies here at home.”

Bush said there was much to appreciate this Thanksgiving weekend. “We’re grateful for our beautiful country, and for the prosperity we enjoy. We’re grateful for the chance to live, work and worship in freedom,” Bush said.

“We also recognize our duty to share our blessings with the least among us,” the president said. “Throughout the holiday season, schools, churches, synagogues and other generous organizations gather food and clothing for their neighbors in need. Many young people give part of their holiday to volunteer at homeless shelters or food pantries.

“On Thanksgiving, and on every day of the year, America is a more hopeful nation because of the volunteers who serve the weak and the vulnerable.”

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