Obama: Thanksgiving Day a time to unite after ‘passionate, noisy’ election

President Obama urged Americans to remember “what ties us together” after a hard-fought election year, in his Thanksgiving Day address.

Obama called the holiday “a time to give thanks for each other, and for the incredible bounty we enjoy.”

The president also said he hoped Thanksgiving Day could help ease the political divisions from this year’s hard-fought campaigns. 

“As a nation, we’ve just emerged from a campaign season that was passionate, noisy, and vital to our democracy. But it also required us to make choices – and sometimes those choices led us to focus on what sets us apart instead of what ties us together; on what candidate we support instead of what country we belong to,” said Obama.

“Thanksgiving is a chance to put it all in perspective – to remember that, despite our differences, we are, and always will be, Americans first and foremost,” he continued.

Obama said the country had much to be grateful for this year. 

“Today we give thanks for blessings that are all too rare in this world,” he said. “The ability to spend time with the ones we love; to say what we want; to worship as we please; to know that there are brave men and women defending our freedom around the globe; and to look our children in the eye and tell them that, here in America, no dream is too big if they’re willing to work for it..

But the president also urged Americans to remember those affected by Hurricane Sandy, which battered communities along the Atlantic seaboard in late October.

“Right now, as we prepare to gather around our dinner tables, there are families in the northeast who don’t have that luxury.  Many of them have lost everything to Hurricane Sandy – homes, possessions, even loved ones.  And it will be a long time before life goes back to normal,” he said.

The president said that efforts were continuing to help devastated communities recover from the super-storm and that Sandy had shown that Americans were “bold, generous, big-hearted people.”

“When our brothers and sisters are in need, we roll up our sleeves and get to work – not for the recognition or the reward, but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Obama. “Here in America, we rise or fall together, as one nation and one people. That’s something to be grateful for – today and every day.”