— -- In his last Christmas as commander in chief, President Obama paid tribute to troops serving overseas.
While they enjoyed a quiet morning at their vacation rental in Hawaii with family opening Christmas gifts and playing games, during the afternoon they visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay.
The visit with service members has become a tradition for the Obamas, as well as calls he makes to those serving overseas on Christmas Eve.
“Yesterday I called, as I do every Christmas, some of our folks that are stationed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some in some very remote spots,” he said. “Some of them who as we speak are carrying out missions to defeat ISIL, carrying out missions to protect us from all manner of threat, and just to remind them that as tough as it is to be deployed, the people here in America, back home, understand that every single day that they're serving, they are fighting for our freedom, they're fighting to keep us safe and fighting to maintain our way of life.”
He said it is impossible to repay them for their sacrifices, but he wanted to make sure they knew “what you do matters and that we know about it and that were grateful and that we will stay grateful even when many of you end up being out of uniform."
He called it a “privilege of my life” to serve as their commander in chief and emphasized that, as a citizen, his “gratitude will remain and our commitment to standing beside you every step of the way.”