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Tagged: Malia

Just found some photos that White House photographer Pete Souza took at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony last night.

The First Family Lights the National Christmas Tree

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2012.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 2012.

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The First Family Lights the National Christmas Tree:
President Obama Speaking at the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony:

Tonight Barack, Michelle, Sasha, and Malia continued the tradition of the First Family lighting the National Christmas Tree.

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First Family National Christmas Tree Thumbnail:

Obama Family in Nelson Mandela's Cell on Robben Island

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Obama Family in Nelson Mandela’s Cell on Robben Island:

We just found another photo of the First Family volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank at Thanksgiving!

The Obama Family Volunteers for Thanksgiving

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The Obama Family Volunteers for Thanksgiving:

This year's White House Christmas Tree is a 18.5' Douglas Fir from the Botek family of Lehighton, PA. Of course, the Obama ladies look stylish as ever in their overcoats.

Michelle, Sasha, Malia, Bo, and Sunny Obama Receive the White House Christmas Tree

First Lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, along with Obama family pets Bo and Sunny, welcome the arrival of the official White House Christmas tree at the North Portico of the White House, Nov. 29, 2013.

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Michelle, Sasha, Malia, Bo, and Sunny Obama Receive the White House Christmas Tree:

Sasha and Malia go shopping with their dad at local DC bookstore Politics and Prose on Small Business Saturday.

President Barack Obama goes Christmas shopping with daughters Sasha and Malia at Politics and Prose on Small Business Saturday.

President Barack Obama goes Christmas shopping with daughters Sasha and Malia at Politics and Prose on Small Business Saturday.

They made a similar trip last Christmas. Look at how much they've grown in just a year!

President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha shop for Christmas presents at One More Page, an independent, neighborhood bookstore in Arlington, Va., on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.

President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha shop for Christmas presents at One More Page, an independent, neighborhood bookstore in Arlington, Va., on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.

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President Barack Obama Sasha Malia Shop Politics and Prose:

The White House does Thanksgiving right. This year the Obamas are celebrating with a quiet dinner at the White House, but here are a few of the public festivities to get you in the holiday spirit.

Probably the most popular and beloved White House Thanksgiving tradition is the pardoning of the national turkey. As usual, Sasha and Malia were on hand while their dad made the official pronouncement. Watch the event below or just scroll down to see who won.

President Barack Obama, Accompanied by Sasha and Malia, Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey


National Thanksgiving Turkey CaramelNational Thanksgiving Turkey Popcorn

Of course, for the Obamas, Thanksgiving isn't just about a big meal, it's about giving back.

President Barack Obama greets a young girl while he and First Lady Michelle Obama and the First Family volunteer during a Thanksgiving service project at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., Nov. 27, 2013.

President Barack Obama greets a young girl while he and First Lady Michelle Obama and the First Family volunteer during a Thanksgiving service project at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., Nov. 27, 2013.

And finally, Happy Thanksgiving from the President.

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First Family Capital Area Food Bank Thanksgiving:
President Barack Obama, Accompanied by Sasha and Malia, Pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey:
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First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, listens to Foundation Director Uwe Neumarker during their visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin, Germany, June 19, 2013. Sister-in-law Auma Obama, right, accompanies them during the tour. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, listens to Foundation...

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First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, listens to Foundation…:
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Leslie Robinson, daughters Malia and Sasha, and Marian Robinson, tour the Lime Quarry on Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa, June 30, 2013. Ahmed Kathrada, a former prisoner in Robben Island Prison, leads their tour.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Leslie Robinson, daughters Malia and Sasha, and Marian Robinson, tour the Lime Quarry on Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa, June 30, 2013. Ahmed Kathrada, a former prisoner in Robben Island Prison, leads their tour.

Today, our family visited Robben Island for an experience we will never forget. Robben Island is located off the coast of South Africa, and from the 1960s through the 1990s, this Island housed a maximum security prison. Many of the prisoners there – including the guide for our visit, a man named Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada – were activists who worked to bring down Apartheid, the South African government’s policies that discriminated against people of color.  Under Apartheid, people of different races were separated in nearly every part of South African society.  They were forced to attend separate schools, live in separate neighborhoods, even swim at separate beaches – and in nearly every case, the neighborhoods, schools and other facilities for black people were much worse than the ones for white people.

Among those imprisoned at Robben Island for fighting Apartheid were three men who went on to become President of South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe and the current president, Jacob Zuma.

So today, as we toured the island, I couldn’t help but think about how this place must have shaped these leaders.  Put yourself in their shoes – all they were doing was fighting to ensure that people in South Africa would be treated equally, no matter what the color of their skin.  And for that, they wound up confined on this remote island, far removed from the world they so desperately hoped to change.

During our visit, we toured the rock quarry where they spent their days doing backbreaking labor, crushing and lifting heavy rocks in the blinding sun. We also saw the tiny cells – including Mr. Kathrada’s cell – where they spent their nights. It was amazing to see Mandela’s cell, a tiny room – about 6 feet wide – where he spent 18 of the 27 years he was in prison. He slept on a thin mat on the floor, and when he stretched out to sleep at night, his toes touched one wall, while his head grazed the other. The walls were two feet thick with no decorations, and he was given a bucket to use as a toilet.

In his first few years on the island, Mandela wasn’t allowed to read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or even have a clock to keep the time. Meals consisted of small rations of porridge – and every other day, he received a tiny piece of meat, but it was mainly gristle. When his mother and son passed away, he couldn’t attend their funerals. And at one point, a prison guard left a news clipping in Mandela’s cell – an article about the government’s mistreatment of his wife – just to taunt him.

Yet despite these conditions, Mandela and his fellow prisoners never lost hope. As Mandela once said, “Prison – far from breaking our spirits – made us more determined to continue with this battle until victory was won.” They did their best to get an education while in prison – they read as many books as they could, and some prisoners even got university degrees through correspondence courses. They vigorously debated philosophy, politics, and the direction of the anti-Apartheid movement. They stood up to mistreatment by the prison guards. And they found ways to communicate in secret, such as stuffing notes inside tennis balls that they would pass along during recreation periods.

So when these prisoners were finally released, their spirits were far from broken. Mandela went on to lead the movement to end Apartheid and set up a new democratic government. He won a Nobel Peace Prize and became South Africa’s first black President. And for me, one of the most amazing parts of his story is this: when he was inaugurated as President, his invited three of his prison guards from Robben Island to join in his inaugural celebration.

So instead of becoming cynical or despondent, or allowing himself to be consumed by bitterness and hatred, Mandela found it in his heart to forgive. And even during all those years imprisoned on Robben Island, he never stopped believing that his country could move forward together as one nation in that same spirit of forgiveness.

While very few of us will ever encounter the kind of discrimination and brutality that Nelson Mandela endured, all of us can learn important lessons from his struggle. We can learn about the importance of standing up for what you believe in, no matter what the cost. We can learn about how, with self-discipline and courage, we can overcome the most unthinkable hardships. And we can learn about the power of forgiveness to turn enemies into friends and help us move forward from a troubled past to a more hopeful future. So I hope that you will read more about President Mandela’s extraordinary life and seek to live up to his example in your own life.

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The First Family Visits the Lime Quarry on Robben Island in South Africa:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Malia and Sasha, listen as Eddie Floyd sings "Knock On Wood" during the “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” concert in the East Room of the White House, April 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Malia and...

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Malia and…: