In a heartwarming display of Thanksgiving camaraderie, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden took on aprons and served duties, offering Thanksgiving meals to military personnel and their families during an early holiday celebration dubbed “Friendsgiving.” The setting for this gracious event was a hangar adorned with patriotic flags at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.
Participating enthusiastically in the “Friendsgiving” event, the Bidens ushered in Thanksgiving week by actively serving portions of the festive meal. President Biden, demonstrating culinary prowess, handled mashed potatoes, while First Lady Jill Biden took charge of doling out servings of sweet potato casserole. The guests at this special celebration primarily comprised service members and military families associated with the Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald R. Ford aircraft carriers, currently deployed in the eastern Mediterranean in response to heightened tensions from the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Expressing deep appreciation for the service members, President Biden conveyed, “You literally are the spine, the sinew, the backbone of this operation.” Acknowledging the pivotal role played by family members of those deployed abroad, he emphasised, “You family members are the heart of this operation.”
Beyond the traditional Thanksgiving feast, the Bidens introduced an early screening of “Wonka,” a forthcoming musical fantasy film centred around the early life of the iconic Willy Wonka. The audience for this cinematic preview comprised service members and their families, fostering a sense of communal celebration in Norfolk.
This special gathering in Norfolk aligned seamlessly with the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative, a collaborative effort co-hosted by the United Service Organisations (USO) and the Robert Irvine Foundation aimed at supporting military families.
Adding to the Thanksgiving festivities, President Biden is slated to preside over the traditional National Thanksgiving Turkey pardoning on Monday. Following this, he plans to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on the picturesque Atlantic island of Nantucket with his family, coinciding with his 81st birthday. The “Friendsgiving” event exemplifies the Bidens’ commitment to expressing gratitude and fostering a sense of community, particularly with those serving in the military and their families during this season of thanks.