Politics President Biden Tells Americans to 'Keep in Our Hearts Those Who Have Been Lost' This Thanksgiving President Joe Biden wished the nation a happy Thanksgiving while recognizing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic ahead of his trip to Nantucket, Massachusetts for the holiday By Dan Heching Dan Heching Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 25, 2021 05:57 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Joe Biden/Twitter President Joe Biden is taking time to reflect on what it means to celebrate Thanksgiving amid the continued coronavirus pandemic. "This is always a special time in America, but this year the blessings of Thanksgiving are especially meaningful," he said in a videotaped greeting alongside his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, at the White House on Thursday. "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, 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." President Joe Biden Is 'Healthy, Vigorous' and Fit to Serve Ahead of His 79th Birthday, Doctor Says "After being apart last year, we have a new appreciation for those little moments we can't plan or replicate," the first lady, 70, added. "The music of laughter in a warm, full kitchen. The thump of small feet making big sounds. The circle of faces crowded around our dining room table, glowing in the candlelight." The remarks were made shortly before the commander in chief, 79, and his family headed to Nantucket, Massachusetts, for the holiday, a tradition he is resuming this year after taking a hiatus last year due to safety measures related to COVID-19. Once on the island, the first couple were on hand at the Coast Guard station at Brant Point to make further remarks, meeting virtually with U.S. servicemembers including the Coast Guard. When asked what he was thankful for, Biden did not hesitate to answer that "I'm not joking when I say I'm thankful for these guys," referring to the servicemembers. RELATED VIDEO: President Joe Biden Pardons Turkeys Named Peanut Butter and Jelly at White House Rose Garden Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. The Bidens also called in to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from Nantucket, speaking with Al Roker on the Today show. "After two years, we're back, America is back, there's nothing we're unable to overcome," Biden said. "I'm waiting for Santa," he added jokingly. "Wish we were there with you, Al." As the brief call ended, Roker joked that he wasn't sure how Biden got his number. "Well, he's the president of the United States, I guess he can do that," Roker said. Joe Biden Speaks Out After Defendants Found Guilty of Murdering Ahmaud Arbery: 'Justice System Doing Its Job' After a small at-home holiday in 2020 due to the pandemic, there will certainly be a lot of Bidens around the table in Nantucket this year. Joining the president and first lady at the home of a friend on the island are his daughter Ashley, his son Hunter Biden and Hunter's wife Melissa, Hunter's daughters Maisy, Finnegan and Naomi, as well as her fiancé Peter Neal, and Hunter's son Beau Jr. The president's other grandchildren, Natalie and Hunter, are also with the family.