Latest United States Coast Guard News
Nov 26, 2021
President Joe Biden speaks with members of the Coast Guard Thursday as he visits the United States Coast Guard Station Brant Point in Nantucket, Mass. -- President Joe Biden wished Americans a happy and closer-to-normal Thanksgiving on Thursday, the second celebrated in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, in remarks welcoming the resumption of holiday traditions by millions of families -- including his own. "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 recorded with first lady Jill Biden at the White House before their trip to Nantucket, Massachusetts, for the holiday. On the island, the Bidens visited the Coast Guard station at Brant Point to meet virtually with U.S. service members from around the world and personnel at the station. "I'm not joking when I say I'm thankful for these guys," the president said when asked what he was thankful for, referring to the Coast Guard members standing ramrod straight before him on the grounds as he departed. Reporters were kept out of the room for Biden's virtual remarks, apparently because of tight space in the building. Well-wishers waved and cheered as Biden's motorcade navigated the island's narrow paved and cobblestone streets to and from the Coast Guard compound. Biden, whose late son Beau was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, said he has watched U.S. service members in action around the world, from the South China Sea and Iraq and Afghanistan to South America. 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." From Nantucket, the Bidens also called in to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, briefly bantering on air with NBC broadcaster Al Roker. Giant balloons once again wafted through miles of Manhattan, wrangled by costumed handlers. High school and college marching bands from around the country were back, and so were the crowds at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. After being crimped by the coronavirus pandemic last year, the holiday tradition returned in full Thursday, though with precautions. Still, safety measures continued. Parade staffers and volunteers had to be vaccinated against covid-19 and wear masks, though some singers and performers were allowed to shed them. There was no inoculation requirement for spectators, but Macy's and the city encouraged them to cover their faces. Thousands of marchers, hundreds of clowns, dozens of balloons and floats -- and, of course, Santa Claus -- marked the latest U.S. holiday event to make a comeback as vaccines, familiarity and sheer frustration made officials and some of the public more comfortable with big gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic. "After two years, we're back. America is back. There's nothing we're unable to overcome," Biden told Roker from Nantucket. Biden and his wife started spending Thanksgiving in Nantucket since before they were married in 1977 because they were looking for a way out of choosing whose family to spend it with. They did not visit in 2015 following Beau's death earlier that year from brain cancer at age 46, or in 2020, when the covid-19 pandemic put the kibosh on large family gatherings. Biden instead dined at home in Delaware last year with just his wife, daughter Ashley and her husband. But this year, the president joined the millions of Americans who are celebrating the holiday with big groups of loved ones. Biden's visit, his first as president, is markedly different from his previous holidays here when he was a U.S. senator and later vice president. Then, he might have been seen walking around downtown. Biden lost much of his freedom to move around on his own when he became president and now travels with a large group of security personnel, White House and other officials, and journalists. His every public move is closely watched by the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement. Biden is expected to return to the White House on Sunday.