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President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive to speak to members of the military and their families at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. / Carolyn Kaster, AP

President Obama engaged Wednesday in what has become his Christmas Day tradition, visiting with troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Obama spoke to and took pictures with nearly 600 servicemembers and their families who had gathered at the base's chow hall.

"Michelle and I know that we would not enjoy the freedoms we do if it weren't for the incredible dedication and professionalism and work that you do. The least we can do is just let you all know we're grateful to you," the commander in chief said.

Employing the Hawaiian version of "Merry Christmas," Obama said, "We hope all of you have a Mele Kalikimaka, and we hope you guys have a great new year as well."

Obama stayed at the base for more than two hours.

On Christmas Eve, the White House announced, Obama made holiday telephone calls to U.S. servicemembers from each branch of the military, including personnel wounded in an operation in South Sudan last weekend.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama celebrates Christmas with troops

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