Bidens chat with service members by video

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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden marked his first Christmas as president with a video call to U.S. service members around the globe.

Speaking from the White House, they chatted Saturday afternoon with members of the Army and Air Force in Qatar, the Navy in Romania, the Marines and Coast Guard in Bahrain, and the Space Force in Aurora, Colo., with the president offering them all thanks for being “always ready, always vigilant.”

The president called members of the Armed Forces “the solid steel spine of the nation.”

“I have often said that as a nation we have many obligations,” he said, “but we only have one truly sacred obligation: to properly prepare those and equip those who we send into harm's way and to care for you and your families while you're gone and when you return home. It’s because all of you are out there doing what you're doing, Americans all across the nation are able to spend today with their loved ones.”

Jill Biden noted that the Bidens were familiar with the experience of having their loved ones overseas during the Christmas season, citing their late son Beau, who served in Iraq, as well as her father, who served in the Pacific during World War II.

“I'm sorry you have to be away. We know what it is like for your families to have that empty seat at the table like we had,” she told them.

The Bidens, who took non-televised questions from those on the chat after their televised remarks, were joined on their couch by Commander, their German Shepherd puppy. In celebration of the holiday, the couple also took part in a virtual Christmas Eve Mass.

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