President Joe Biden on Thursday met with Coast Guard service members in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and also held a virtual call with U.S. service members from the six branches of the military, as part of his activities on Thanksgiving.
The president and first lady Jill Biden wished Americans a happy Thanksgiving prior to their trip to the island of Nantucket for the holiday.
“As we give thanks for what we have, we also keep in our hearts those who have been lost and those who have lost so much,” the president said in a videotaped greeting with the first lady by his side.
In Nantucket, at the Coast Guard Station Brant Point, the Bidens addressed service members from the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Space Force.
“Service members and their families sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms and the freedom of others around the globe. While we can never fully repay the debt we owe these heroes, @FLOTUS and I called today to say how thankful we are for all they do,” Biden said on Twitter, with a photo of the two on the virtual call.
Service members and their families sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms and the freedom of others around the globe. While we can never fully repay the debt we owe these heroes, @FLOTUS and I called today to say how thankful we are for all they do. pic.twitter.com/iPO5BXHBBy
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 25, 2021
Following the virtual meeting, the Bidens greeted about 20 Coast Guard service members outside, with the president wishing them a happy Thanksgiving holiday, handing out challenge coins, which are historically collectible pieces.
“I’m not joking when I say I’m thankful for these guys, thankful to them, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,” Biden said when asked what he was grateful for.
He said when foreigners wonder what America is, “they don’t see us here,” meaning civilians. “They see them,” he said of members of the Coast Guard and the other branches of the U.S. military. “It makes me proud.”
The Bidens also briefly called in to NBC’s live TV coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The 2021 parade in Manhattan had about 8,000 participants.
The Bidens started spending Thanksgiving in Nantucket since before they were married in 1977. They did not visit in 2015 following late son Beau Biden’s death earlier that year, or in 2020, amid heavy restrictions due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
The couple’s family this year joined them in celebrating Thanksgiving, flying to the island with him late Tuesday on Air Force One—son Hunter and his wife, Melissa, and their toddler son Beau; daughter Ashley; and grandchildren Naomi, Finnegan, Maisy, Natalie, and young Hunte, as well as Naomi’s fiance, Peter Neal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.