President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama thanked hundreds of service members and their families on Christmas Day in his final holiday visit as commander-in-chief to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

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“I just want all of you to know that it has been the privilege of my life to serve as your commander-in-chief,” Obama told the crowd of more than 400 late Sunday afternoon in the Anderson dining hall facility at the base in Kaneohe, according to local pool reporter Kristen Consillio of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “Although this will be my last time addressing you as president, I want you to know that as a citizen, my gratitude will remain and our commitment to standing by you every step of the way, that won’t stop.”

The president and the first lady talk to service members and their families Sunday at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Obama began his holiday greeting with his usual “Aloha, Mele Kalikimaka” to service members and their families who ate Christmas dinner and waited for a meet-and-greet with the president.

“This is one of our favorite things to do because it’s one of those circumstances where we get a chance to not just say thank you to our incredible men and women in uniform but oftentimes we also get a chance to see some families,” said the president.

At the end of his brief speech, Obama joked that he looked forward to seeing the service members “for many years to come.”

“I understand that I still have a little bit of rank as ex-president so I still get to use the gym on base and of course, the golf course,” he said.

The audience of about of about 400 people included service members and their families. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

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