President Barack Obama gave his annual Christmas message Wednesday and used the opportunity to ask Americans to remember the troops who are serving the country far from their loved ones.
“Our extraordinary men and women in uniform are serving so that the rest of us can enjoy the blessings we cherish during the holidays,” the president said, with first lady by his side in a pre-recorded message, according to NBC News. “But that means many of our troops are far from home and far from family.”
The president, who champions community service, also used the moment to urge Americans to volunteer.
“For families like ours, that service is a chance to celebrate the birth of Christ and live out what He taught us—to love our neighbors as we would ourselves, to feed the hungry and look after the sick, to be our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper,” he said.
The president and first lady also visited a Marine Corps base in Hawaii, where Obama and his family are on their annual vacation, the Associated Press reports. According to AP, some 600 troops from various military branches were gathered to hear from Obama after being served Christmas dinner.
Obama also said that he called troops stationed in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to thank them for their service and the sacrifices they make every day, AP reports.