Americans celebrate Thanksgiving |

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving

Spc. Seth Breesawitz of Springfield, Mo. head cook for the Able Troop 3-71 Cavalry Squadron, uses a ladle to baste his turkeys as he prepares Thanksgiving dinner for the troops at the Joint Combat Operations Post in the town of Baraki Barak district, Logar province, Afghanistan Thursday Nov. 26, 2009. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

NEW YORK (AP) – Giant balloons, floats, marching bands and clowns with confetti brought smiles to hundreds of thousands of revelers eager to catch a glimpse of a parade as steeped in Thanksgiving Day tradition as turkey and pumpkin pie.

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 cities such as Detroit and Philadelphia.

Soldiers in war zones received phone calls of appreciation from President Barack Obama, while astronauts hovering above the Earth’s surface feasted on turkey smuggled aboard the space shuttle Atlantis.

In New York City, 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-actress Keke Palmer. Despite the crowds, Dighe said the parade is “totally worth it.”