President Joe Biden marked his first Christmas in office by making video calls to military service members stationed around the world, offering them holiday wishes and gratitude for their service and sacrifice for the nation.
Speaking from a studio set up at the White House, President Biden praised the American military as “the solid steel spine of the nation,” emphasizing the “truly sacred obligation” the nation has to care for soldiers and their families. “As your Commander-in-Chief, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” the President told service members via video chat. “We’re grateful for your courage, your sacrifice, not only your sacrifice but your family’s sacrifice.”
Joined by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and their new puppy, Commander (who stole the show), the President spoke to service members representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, stationed at bases in Qatar, Romania, Bahrain, and of course, here at home in the U.S. Dr. Biden expressed her empathy for the difficulties their families experience spending the holidays away from their loved ones, noting that their own family experienced the same when their son Beau, who served as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, was deployed to Iraq.
Due to the Omicron variant, the usual White House holiday festivities were scaled back to a more quiet gathering with immediate family and closest friends, all of whom have been vaccinated, boosted, and tested for COVID-19, as recommended by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Join me as the First Lady and I meet virtually with service members to celebrate the holiday. https://t.co/cy4d0nYjxK
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 25, 2021
The call to active military members was just the latest Christmas tradition the two participated in, after spending Christmas Eve spreading holiday cheer around Washington. On Friday morning, they visited Children’s National Hospital to offer holiday greetings to young patients and their families. The President showed off photos of their new puppy and the First Lady read a children’s book to patients.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/j33kGoKpXN
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) December 25, 2021
Later, the two stopped by a Jill Biden-themed Christmas tree in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The President hung the 2021 White House Christmas ornament amid branches decked out with photos of his wife’s face, apples, and small chalkboards, in homage to her teaching career.
From the first National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in 1923 to the Kennedy-era start of selecting a theme for the official White House tree, see how holiday traditions have grown into a public celebration https://t.co/bavOgBE9ZM
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 25, 2021