After about an hour inside the Coast Guard station, Biden walked outside to greet about 20 soldiers in uniform, and the president wished them Happy Thanksgiving, handed out 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 seen 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.
A White House aide, Al Biden, said upon their arrival, “They will virtually meet with military personnel from around the world to thank them for their service and wish Thanksgiving. 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.
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 tomorrow when the tree lights up.”
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 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.
“When we meet again, our table and hearts are full of grace and gratitude to all we love. As Commander in Chief, I am especially grateful to our military personnel, and their families, for their sacrifices to our nation,” he said. , adding: “We also hold in our hearts those we have lost, those who have lost so much. And those who have an empty seat at their kitchen table or their dining room table this year due to this virus or another cruel twist of fate or accident..we pray for them.”
The two also called up Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Thursday parade, telling NBC host Al Roker, “America is back. There’s nothing we can’t beat.”