By Rebecca Shabad - 12/26/13 09:37 AM EST
President Obama spent Christmas afternoon taking photos with 580 troops individually at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Before the photo sessions on Wednesday, he spoke to service members and their families at the base’s dining hall with first lady Michelle Obama by his side.
“A lot of our friends and comrades" are raising families while others are serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas, Obama said, according to the White House pool report.
“It was just a sampling of the incredible sacrifice that all of you and your families make every single day. 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,” he said.