Pool Report #5
Dec. 25, 2012
At 4:15 p.m., the president and the first lady emerged from a corridor toward the rear of the mess hall and started greeting diners. “You’ve got a big plate there. I like that,” the president told one of them. “Merry Christmas to you,” he told another. “Good to see you.”
His visit was evidently not a surprise. One patron told your pooler that in anticipation of the president’s visit, military personnel and their family members lined up outside for far longer than they would on a normal holiday.
The president’s exchanges with diners were cordial but brief. He wore a pastel blue, short-sleeved shirt and khakis. The first lady wore a one-piece dress with a black tank top and a white, billowy bottom half.
After a couple of minutes, the president stepped up to a microphone positioned toward the front of the long room. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas and promised that his remarks would be brief. They were. Below is a full transcript, minus some extraneous opening comments.
“We do this every year. This is where I was born and so we come back for the holidays. But one of our favorite things is always coming to the base on Christmas Day and having a chance just to meet you, those of you who have families here, and to say thanks for the extraordinary work and service that you guys do each and every day. Obviously the greatest honor I have as president is being commander in chief. And the reason it’s an honor is because not only do we have the finest military in the world, but we also have the finest fighting men and women in the world. And so many of you make sacrifices day in and day out on behalf of our freedom, on behalf of our security.
And not only do those in uniform make sacrifices, but I think everybody here understands the sacrifices that families make each and every day as well. And Michelle, working with Dr. Jill Biden, has done a lot of work to focus attention on military families to make sure that you get the support that you have earned and that you deserve.
So I’m not going make a long speech. Obviously we’re still in a wartime footing. There’s still folks as we speak who are overseas, especially in Afghanistan, risking their lives each and every day. Some of you may have loved ones who are deployed there. Some of you may be about to be deployed there. And so we know that it’s not easy. But what we’d also like you to know is that you have an entire country behind you, that all of us understand that we would be nowhere without the extraordinary services you guys provide. And so we want to say thank you. We love you.”
And with that, the president wrapped up his remarks by telling the room that he would stick around for anyone who wanted a picture.
Your pool was not allowed to remain in the mess hall for the meet-and-greet and photo sessions. And by 4:20 we were ushered back out to the parking lot where we remain in a hold.