President Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined service members in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Monday for an early Thanksgiving celebration to thank troops and their families for their service.
The Bidens expressed gratitude for the families who support their servicemembers while deployed and recalled holidays spent without their late son Beau Biden while he was deployed abroad as an officer with the Delaware National Guard.
“I want to thank not only you warriors, I want to thank your families because they stand and wait. And I know how hard it is to have someone who is not at the table on a holiday that are in harms’ way, that find themselves out of the country because that’s what every time — our son was in Iraq for a year, before that, Kosovo,” Mr. Biden said.
Mrs. Biden added: “We’re so grateful for everything that you do and Joe and I feel like you know, you’re family to us and we cannot thank you enough.”
After their remarks, Mr. Biden donned an apron emblazoned with the presidential seal and served the Thanksgiving meal alongside Mrs. Biden.
The visit marked a continuation of a longstanding tradition of commanders-in-chief celebrating the holiday with troops and paying gratitude for their service.
This year’s celebration, the first since Mr. Biden’s heavily criticized withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, was notably held on U.S. soil.
Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush commonly visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during the holidays while in office.
The president and first lady are scheduled to travel to Nantucket, Massachusetts, on Tuesday where they will remain through the holiday week.
• Jeff Mordock contributed to this report.