Crowds six to seven people deep lined the streets of Manhattan on Thursday for the 83rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as merrymakers gathered nationwide for massive parades in Detroit and Philadelphia.
In New York, Miss America Katie Stam waved to crowds from a Statue of Liberty float she shared with Meb Keflezighi, the first American in 11 years to win the New York City Marathon.
Shailesh Dighe and his family came to the fabled parade to snap pictures of celebrities, including rapper Jay Sean and singer-actor Keke Palmer. Despite the crowds, Dighe said the parade is "totally worth it."
"When you watch it on TV, you don't get that feeling," said Dighe, who splits his time between Manhattan and Princeton, N.J.
Celebrity entertainment included Italian tenor Andrea Boccelli, comedian Jimmy Fallon, former American Idol star Katharine McPhee and singers Gloria Gaynor and Carly Simon.
Thanks from space
Aboard space shuttle Atlantis, astronauts expecting to give thanks with pantry leftovers were surprised by turkey dinners with candied yams, freeze-dried cornbread stuffing and green beans — just add water.
Commander Charles Hobaugh, a no-nonsense Marine, had made it clear before the 11-day flight that he did not care what he ate on the holiday, be it beef brisket or tofu. He made no special meal requests.
But somehow, the treats ended up on Atlantis.
NASA spokesman John Ira Petty, said "the only conceivable thing" that could have happened is that the crew of the International Space Station sneaked the meals into the shuttle before it departed Wednesday.
Hobaugh and his crew spent Thanksgiving getting ready for today's landing. Good landing weather was forecast for the scheduled 9:44 a.m. touchdown.
At the White House
President Barack Obama and his family enjoyed a quiet holiday at the White House.
Obama took time to place calls from the Oval Office to 10 U.S. servicemen and women — two each in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard — stationed in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the Arabian Gulf.
Obama, who spent the past several weeks conducting an intensive review of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, called to let them know that he and first lady Michelle Obama are "truly thankful for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the nation," said a White House statement.
Obama plans to announce on Tuesday the results of that review — a new battle plan for Afghanistan, including an increase in U.S. forces and a strategy for ending America's military involvement there.
Hopes of homecoming
For the U.S. Marines of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, this Thanksgiving Day in Nawa, Afghanistan, brought one overriding thing to be thankful for: They're about to go home.
Within days, the Marines will return to Camp Pendleton, Calif., after a seven-month deployment.
Although four members of the battalion have been killed in action, Charlie Company has had no fatalities. "I'm just thankful that all my Marine brothers in Charlie Company are going home to their families," said Sgt. Sal Sanchez of Riverside, Calif.
Sadly, plans for a special dinner Thursday at the combat outpost went sadly awry — three words: frozen pot roast.
A military mixup meant that the cook was never alerted that a helicopter had brought two brick-hard 80-pound roasts. Sgt. Sean Ross, the cook, said it would have taken until 1 a.m. today to thaw and cook the meal. The pot roast, Ross said, will be served today.
"I don't think people will care that much. We're still going home," Ross said.
Information from the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times was used in this report