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updated: 2/4/2018 4:29 PM

Trump: Service members make Super Bowl Sunday possible

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- President Donald Trump is expressing appreciation for U.S. service members, who he says make occasions like Super Bowl Sunday possible.

Trump said that, while many service members can't be home to enjoy the American tradition with family and friends, "they are always in our thoughts and prayers." He said they're owed the "greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life" and their sacrifice is "stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner."

Trump also said: "We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the National Anthem."

The president has been critical of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest unfair police treatment of minorities, calling it disrespectful to service members.

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