File photo: Barack Obama.

Washington - US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Saturday wished Americans a Merry Christmas and thanked US troops and their families for their service.

In a joint weekly radio and Internet address, the president and first lady noted that with the end of the war in Iraq and the winding down of the US engagement in Afghanistan, America's military families were reuniting.

“So this week let's give thanks for our veterans and their families,” said President Obama. “And let's say a prayer for all our troops -especially those in Afghanistan - who are spending this holiday overseas, risking their lives to defend the freedoms we hold dear.”

Michelle Obama, for her part, reminded Americans that when men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve right along with them.

Military spouses, she said, have been raising their families all alone during their husbands' and wives' long deployments.

“Our military families sacrifice so much on our behalf, and Barack and I believe that we should serve them as well as they serve this country,” the first lady said.

The president and first lady asked Americans to visit to find ways to honor and support US war veterans and their families. They also urged their countrymen to come together to care for each other during this holiday season. -Sapa-AFP