Obama thanks military, volunteers on Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:28pm EST

United States President Barack Obama makes Thanksgiving Day phone calls to U.S. military personnel from the Oval Office November 24, 2011.       REUTERS/Pete Souza-The White House/Handout

United States President Barack Obama makes Thanksgiving Day phone calls to U.S. military personnel from the Oval Office November 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Pete Souza-The White House/Handout

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday the United States was grateful to military service members and soup kitchen volunteers alike and the holiday displayed American unity despite Washington's political gridlock.

In his weekly radio address, Obama wished Americans a happy Thanksgiving and said the holiday was a celebration of national community.

"We're especially grateful for the Americans who defend our country overseas. To all the service members eating Thanksgiving dinner far from your families, the American people are thinking of you today," he said.

"We're also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay."

Obama said political partisanship and gridlock in Washington made it easy to wonder if U.S. unity was possible.

"But think about what's happening at this very moment. Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community and country," he said.

Obama telephoned 10 servicemen deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday to wish them and their families a happy Thanksgiving and to thank them for their sacrifice, the White House said.

The White House said Obama talked to two servicemen each from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.

Obama planned to have a quiet Thanksgiving with friends, family and staff in the White House.

The White House said the Obamas' Thanksgiving dinner menu was:

Turkey

Ham

Cornbread Stuffing

Oyster Stuffing

Greens

Macaroni and cheese

Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Dinner Rolls

Dessert:

Banana Cream Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Huckleberry Pie

Cherry Pie

(Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Barbara Goldberg)

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