Bidens visit Fort Bragg, dish out Thanksgiving meal for troops

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- Thanksgiving on Fort Bragg was served with a presidential twist Monday evening. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and senior Fort Bragg leaders served turkey, dressing and all the holiday trimmings to 250 troops.

"I'm so damn proud to be associated with you. It's hard for me to say it, but what's amazing to me is how proud I am to be your Commander-in-Chief. You're the most amazing group of men, women and warriors we've ever seen," President Biden said.

This meal is a special one for military spouse Natalie Ryan, who attended with her two children, 10-year-old Makayla and 8-year-old Tommy. Their father, Major Ryan is deployed to the Middle East for a year.

"The soldiers from Fort Bragg were the ones that closed down Afghanistan not too long ago," Natalie Ryan said. "So it's not lost on us that he's taking the time to visit the service members that had such a giant role in that huge lift on the airfield out there."

According to Fort Bragg officials, every soldier here was nominated by their chain of command including Specialist Yvonne Mitchell. She called the presidential visit an honor as she won't get to go home to Georgia and spend the holiday with family this year.

"I'm pretty sure he has many, many, many other things to do, take care and think of, but he's taking the time to come and think about us and it feels great," said Mitchell.

The two-hour visit to Fort Bragg was symbolic as typically the Commander-in-Chief travels to Iraq or Afghanistan to visit troops for Thanksgiving.

Biden has been widely panned for his handling of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan but on this day showed gratitude to military members for their service and sacrifice.

The president and first lady served food to troops during the early Thanksgiving celebration.

"This is my first time. It's an honor to see the commander-in-chief in person," said Sgt. Noah Hamid. "I don't think many of our service members get to say that. So, it's really an honor and a privilege."

Biden ended this visit with a final gesture of gratitude by taking pictures with each table.

"Folks, I want to thank not only you warriors, but I want to thank your families because they stand and wait. I know how hard it is for some of you to have someone who's not at the table on a holiday because they're in harm's way and find themselves out the country," he said.

As Biden left the hanger where the meal was served, he mouthed the words "thank you" and raised his fist in the air. Troops responded with raucous applause.

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