(CNN) – President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden He was stopped by the US Coast Guard’s Brant Point station Thursday, as they met with US forces stationed there as well as forces around the world as they expressed their gratitude for Thanksgiving Holiday.
About an hour later inside the Coast Guard station, Biden came out to greet about 20 soldiers in uniform, and the president wished them Happy Thanksgiving, distributed challenge coins, and posed for a group photo.
“I’m not kidding when I say I’m grateful to these guys, thank them, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart,” Biden said.
“I’ve been all over the world. I’ve seen these people. I’ve seen them in the South China Sea. I’ve watched them in Afghanistan and Iraq, I’ve seen them in South America. Wherever they are, people wonder what America is, they look and see them… and it makes me proud.”
The Bidens participated in a video call with US forces deployed abroad during their visit.
Al Biden, a White House aide, said upon their arrival, “They will virtually gather with military personnel from around the world to thank them for their service and wish them a Merry Thanksgiving. The military personnel who meet the President and First Lady represent the six branches of the military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard).
The Biden family, including the president’s children, grandchildren and others, have been vacationing on Nantucket Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, a Thanksgiving family tradition for 46 years. They are staying in the waterfront home of billionaire and philanthropist David Rubinstein.
On the menu: roasted turkey with thyme. Delicious Grandmom Jacobs filling; Classic turkey broth roasting the fall vegetable garden. Sweet potatoes, turnips and mushrooms. cranberry relish; apple pie, pumpkin pie, and coconut cream pie; And chocolate chip ice cream.
Over the years, the family has been seen at local holiday events, including participating in the Turkey Trots, the town’s Christmas tree lighting party, and the Cold Turkey Plunge.
On Friday, the first lady said they were going to light the town’s annual Christmas tree on Main Street.
“We all go together,” she said. “We’ll see you at the tree lighting tomorrow.”
Earlier on Thursday, Biden released a pre-recorded letter of thanks to the American people expressing his gratitude this year.
“This year, the blessings of Thanksgiving have a special meaning,” the president said.
The first lady added: “After breaking up last year, we have a new appreciation for those little moments that we can’t plan for or repeat.”
Biden also expressed his gratitude to the troops and memorialized the loss during the pandemic.
“As we meet again, our table and hearts fill with grace and gratitude to all we love. As Commander in Chief, I am especially grateful to our service members and their families, for their sacrifices to our nation,” he said, adding, “We also keep in our hearts those we have lost, and those who have lost so much.” And those who have an empty seat at their kitchen table or dining room table this year because of this virus or any cruel twist of fate or accident. Pray for them.”
The two were also called to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, telling NBC host Al Roker, “America is back. There’s nothing we can’t beat.”
This story has been updated with additional details.
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