Mr. Speaker,

On Christmas Day, most of us will wake up with our families, the smell of Turkey in the oven, and homemade apple pie, but on the other side of the world, there are men and women who will wake up in the middle of the desert who are representing and protecting America's liberty. Those are our great American warriors.

In 2005, I went to see our troops in Iraq during the Christmas season. Before I left, I asked my staff to get local schoolkids to make some handmade Christmas cards that I could give the troops, and I took about 5,000 Christmas cards to our troops in Iraq and in Kosovo. Every year since then, Mr. Speaker, kids in southeast Texas have been making Christmas cards and holiday cards for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and in other parts of the world.

I want you to know that schoolchildren in southeast Texas made 69,000 handmade Christmas cards for our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and in other parts of the world that will be taken to them this Christmas. I want to thank all of those numerous schools, teachers, and chambers of commerce in southeast Texas.

God bless every one of you for helping our men and women overseas have a better connection with our families and our young people in this country and for letting them know that Texans are thinking of them.

And that's just the way it is.

Hargrave High School JROTC; Humble ISD; Timbers Elementary; Douglass Learning Academy; KARW; Norma's Bookkeeping and Tax Service; Haude Elementary; Salyers Elementary; Crockett Elementary; Girl Scout Troop 21157; Tarkington Primary School; Cadette Girl Scout Troop; Goose Creek CISD; Brownie Girl Scout Troop 16253; Spring, 4-H, Girl Scout Troop 26184; Girl Scout Troop 26015; Marauder Composite Squadron; Holy Trinity Episcopal School; Hi Neighbors Group; Ronald Reagan Republican Women; Village Learning & Achievement Center; McAdams Associates Real Estate.

Schochler Elementary; Rikki Wheeler and the Baytown Chamber of Commerce; Operation Independence; Ross Sterling High School; Horace Mann Middle School; Alamo Elementary; San Jacinto Methodist Hospital; Kingwood Middle School; Woodland Hills Elementary; Sterling Middle School; Timberwood Middle School; Beaumont Independent School District; Lamar University; Boy Scouts; Deerbrook Baptist Church; Port Neches Elementary; Chambers County Pilot Club; Neverland Rec. Center; Westbrook High School; Marshall Middle School; St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Beaumont, TX.