First Lady Jill Biden attends holiday gathering at U.S. Submarine Veterans Club in Groton

New London

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — First lady Jill Biden visited Groton on Thursday.

Biden landed at Groton-New London Airport with Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro to visit with U.S. Navy families of the USS Delaware of which she is the sponsor.

Biden and Del Toro arrived just before 5 p.m. Thursday. They headed to the U.S. Submarine Veterans Club in Groton and attended a holiday gathering sponsored by United Through Reading at the U.S. Submarine Veterans Club.

As the daughter of a navy sailor, Biden knows being away from family during the holidays is tough.

“I saw that empty chair at the table when there was Thanksgiving or Christmas or birthdays,” Biden said. “I know how much it tugs at your heartstrings, especially during these tough times.”

They met with people like Acacia Lazos, who knows this all too well. Her husband is underway on the USS Delaware. She has not seen him in a year. She is juggling a two-year-old, two twin babies and she is expecting.

“Just to be together as a family, we haven’t been together at Christmas in almost four years,” Lazos said.

News 8’s Tina Detelj was at the veterans club Thursday morning, where the staff was preparing for the very special visit.

“It’s very exciting to have her [Biden] come and just want to spend time with the spouses and children of the boat, and show her support of the military service,” U.S. Submarine Veterans Club Manager Jill Byrne said.

United Through Reading provided books for the event, and each child got to take some home. They also have a special app to download books parents can record themselves, so their kids can read them and play them back when they are thousands of miles away on duty.

The fast-attack submarine was christened in Virginia back in 2018 and commissioned last year.

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