New York, Dec 27 (ANI): Third year in a row, the US President Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to a Marine base to show gratitude to the troops for their sacrifices, including being away from their families during holidays.
The president, along with his wife, Michelle Obama, spent more than an hour shaking hands and hugging service members who had arrived for Christmas dinner at the mess hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, reports the New York Daily News.
The president, dressed casually in a short-sleeved shirt and dark grey pants, made no formal remarks, instead greeting service members individually.
He told one athletic-looking man that he should join Obama's basketball team so the president could avoid getting an 'elbow in the lip,' a reference to the injury Obama suffered during a game last month.
The Obamas also used the president's weekly radio and Internet address to encourage the U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and other outposts around the world.
"Let's all remind them this holiday season that we're thinking of them, and that America will forever be here for them, just as they've been there for us," said the president.
The First Lady, who has made working with military families one of her top priorities, said Americans don't need to be experts in military life in order to give back to those who serve their country.
"Anybody can send a care package or pre-paid calling card to the front lines, or give what's sometimes the most important gift of all: simply saying thank you," she said. (ANI)