Joe and Jill Biden attended a Thanksgiving celebration with troops on Fort Bragg in North Carolina where they served attendees dinner.
The president started serving scoops of stuffing while the first lady served mashed potatoes – both were wearing aprons with the presidential seal.
At the ‘friendsgiving’ dinner there were some 250 attendees including service members, families of deployed troops and elected officials.
Around 8:00 p.m., the president and first lady left the hangar where the dinner was being held to meet with members of the Fort Bragg Special Operations community, according to the White House.
‘These men and women often serve as the ‘tip of the spear’ in our nation’s military operations, and the President wants to convey his and the nation’s gratitude for their continued service and sacrifice,’ the White House noted.
In short remarks before serving dinner, Biden said to attendees: ‘I know how hard it is to have someone who’s not at the table on holiday, that are in harm’s way to find themselves out of the country.’
He used his often-repeated personal anecdote for celebrating holidays when his son Beau was deployed.
President Joe Biden (right) and first lady Jill Biden (left) served Thanksgiving dinner to troops at Fort Bragg on Monday evening
The first couple made short remarks before the prayer for dinner where they thanked service members and their families for their sacrifices being away from loved ones during the holiday
Biden scoops stuffing onto the plate of a female soldier at For Bragg on Monday
The first lady waves to people dining on their Thanksgiving meals three days before the November holiday is officially observed
‘You do so much and your families give so much,’ the president continued. ‘I really mean it. From the bottom of my heart, the finest – the finest military that the world has ever seen. That’s not hyperbole. You literally are the finest the world has ever seen.’
Biden thanked the troops and said he is ‘so damn proud’ to be commander in chief.
First lady Jill said: ‘I know what it feels like for all of your families here because you won’t be home for the holidays’
‘So I want to thank all of you,’ she added. ‘That’s why we came to have dinner with you to say thank you to you.’
‘We’re so grateful for everything that you do. And Joe and I feel like you know your family to us. And we cannot thank you enough.’
Along with the president and first lady at the Thanksgiving dinner at Fort Bragg were North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and his wife Kristin Cooper as well as North Carolina Representatives David Price, G.K. Butterfield, Alma Adams, Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning.
Also there were Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and North Carolina Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs Retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin.
Biden visited with the children of deployed troops during the Thanksgiving dinner
The president takes down his mask during his visit to Fort Bragg to greet a young child of a deployed service member
President Biden helps his wife put on an apron with the presidential seal to serve food to troops
Jill was put in charge of serving mashed potatoes and Joe dolled out the Thanksgiving staple of stuffing
Biden takes a photo with soldiers at Fort Bragg to mark the start of Thanksgiving week
One of Biden’s biggest failures of his administration so far is his bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has received widespread criticism after 13 U.S. service members were killed in the chaos on the Kabul airport in August.
A suicide bombing outside the gates of the Hamid Karzai International Airport killed more than 170, including 11 Marines, one Army soldier and one from the Navy.
The attack came amid the US’ frenzied withdrawal from Afghanistan , where the Taliban seized control of Kabul, and ISIS-K claimed responsibility.
They were mostly just beginning their careers in the service, ranging in age from 20-33- Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31; Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22; Cpl. Daegan Page, 23; Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22; Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20; Lance Cpl. David Espinoza, 20; Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, 20; Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, 20; Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, 20; Sgt. Nicole Gee, 23; Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25; Navy Hospitalman Maxton Soviak, 22; and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, 23.
The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill posthumously awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. service members killed in Kabul as they tried to help Americans and allies escape.
The House unanimously approved a companion bill earlier this month, and it now heads to President Biden’s desk, amid tensions with parents of the deceased troops who say he has their childrens’ blood on his hands.
Biden speaks with soldiers before serving up some chow. He thanked them for their service and remembered how hard it was to spend holidays without Beau when he was in the service
The first lady also made remarks and thanked the 250 troops and family members for their service to the country
Biden attended a dignified transfer of the fallen troops at Dover Air Force base as they were returned to U.S. soil, and later the president met with some of the families of the fallen.
The president appeared to check his watch multiple times throughout the ceremony.
He stood in silence, his right hand to his chest, as a succession of flags draped transfer coffins were carried past him from a C-17 Globemaster plane.
But during the ceremony, Biden appears to jerk his left arm up and look down at his watch.
Some of the grieving parents were not happy to see him.
Kathy McCollum, the mother of a Marine killed in the attack, had particularly harsh words for the president, calling him a ‘dementia-ridden piece of crap.’
‘My son was one of the Marines that died yesterday,’ Kathy McCollum said in a radio interview on Friday of her 20-year-old late son Rylee.
‘[He was] getting ready to come home from freaking Jordan to be with his wife to watch the birth of his son,’ McCollum said. ‘And that feckless, dementia ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die.’