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With his wife Michelle, Obama on Friday wished the troops at the base in Kaneohe Bay a wonderful Christmas.
“This is one of our favorite things to do every single year because not only are we in Hawaii for Christmas, but we’re also able to say thank you on behalf of the American people,” he said. “So many families here are serving tirelessly, and it’s not just those in uniform who serve, it’s also the spouses, the kids.”
The president said it is tough to be deployed overseas, even as the administration has been able to reduce the number of troops serving in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
During his remarks, Obama referenced the six U.S. airmen who were killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan this past Monday.
“It’s still dangerous, as we saw this past week, where we had some outstanding, brave men and women who were killed,” he said.
“We never take for granted what all of you do for the American people,” Obama later added. “You help keep us free. You help keep us strong, and whatever service you’re in, whatever branch, we are extraordinarily grateful for everything that you do every single day.”
Towards the end of his address, the president joked about working out next to the Marines at the base.
“I generally feel like your commander-in-chief is in pretty good shape,” he said. “Then I get next to some guy curling 100 pounds and it makes me feel small. But that’s okay. It gives me some inspiration. I’m going to work harder so I can keep up with you next year.”