(Nantucket, MA) -- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden spent the first part of their holiday hosting a virtual meeting with service members from around the world to wish them a happy Thanksgiving and thank them for their service.
From Coast Guard Station Brant Point in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Bidens addressed members representing all six military branches -- the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force.
After that, the president met outside with roughly two dozen members of the Coast Guard, shaking their hands and presenting them with challenge coins, which are historically collectible pieces.
The president said the "blessings of Thanksgiving are especially meaningful" this year after so many families and friends couldn't gather last year because of surging COVID-19 cases.
"We also keep in our hearts those who we've lost," the president said. "And those who have an empty seat at their kitchen table or their dining room table this year because of this virus, or another cruel twist of fate or accident, we pray for them."
Thanksgiving in Nantucket is a decades-long tradition for the Biden family. The first lady also confirmed that they would be taking part once again in the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday afternoon.
"We're all going to be there," she said. "We're all going together."
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