President Joe Biden thanked service members stationed across the globe for their service in a Christmas Day virtual meeting from the White House.
"The holidays really bring into sharp focus, being apart is -- it's just part of the job, but it's the hard part of the job, and it's who you guys are," he told representatives of all six armed services.
"I know hard it is for you, but quite frankly, it's harder for your husbands, wives, moms, dads, children, to be apart or on duty during a season of togetherness, and we Bidens understand that," the President told military units stationed in Bahrain, Qatar, Romania and Colorado via video conference.
"We still, every once in a while, look at that empty chair -- and, you know, service to your country is, whether you're in Iraq, or you know -- Beau spent a year in Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard. We remember that, what it felt like, as I said, and all those birthdays and other occasions, celebrations where you're not together."
The Bidens' late son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, deployed to Iraq in 2008 as part of a National Guard deployment. He died in 2015 from brain cancer.
In his remarks on Saturday, the President said the military was "the solid steel spine of the nation," adding that they remain, "always vigilant, always ready when duty calls, 365 days a year."
"And during the holiday season, as we pray for peace and spread joy and glad tidings, we also look for hope for the possibility of a better year, and to give thanks, and give thanks to everything, for everything we've gotten, to you, your service, your families," he added.
Biden was joined on the call by first lady Jill Biden and the newly minted-first puppy, Commander, who arrived at the White House earlier this week.
"We were going to send this guy over," Biden joked.
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