President Obama Spends Christmas with Troops in Hawaii; Says Sacrifices in Afghanistan Make the World ‘Better’

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meet the troops in Hawaii. (NICHOLAS KAMM, AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meet the troops in Hawaii. (NICHOLAS KAMM, AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama vowed Thursday that Afghanistan would not “be a source of terrorist attacks again,” crediting America’s military for helping make the nation more secure as the U.S. prepares to end its combat mission there.

On a Christmas Day visit with service members at a Hawaii military base, the president thanked troops for their sacrifices during more than a decade of “continuous war.”

“We still have some very difficult missions around the world,” Obama said, noting the role U.S. forces will continue to play in Iraq and Afghanistan in assisting local security forces, as well as helping to deal with the Ebola outbreak in Africa. “But the world is better, it’s safer, it’s more peaceful, it’s more prosperous and our homeland is protected because of you and the sacrifices [you make] each and every day.”

“So on a day when we celebrate the Prince of Peace and many of us count our blessings, one of the greatest blessings we have is the extraordinary dedication and sacrifices you all make. We could not be more thankful. I know I speak for everyone in the entire country when I say, we salute you.”

The president’s Christmas afternoon trip to Marine Corps Base Hawaii is an annual ritual, but had added significance this year with the coming milestone in the U.S. fight against terrorism. After year’s end, the up to 10,800 troops that could remain in Afghanistan will transition from a combat role to a training and assistance role.

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SOURCE: The Los Angeles Times
MICHAEL A. MEMOLI 

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