Al Roker is making his triumphant return to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday after last year’s absence.
The Today host has been a parade staple since 1995. In 2022, however, the parade went ahead without its cherished co-host for the first time in 27 years. Al Roker was hospitalized, recovering from blood clots in his leg and lungs, during the 2022 parade, forcing him to miss out on the annual event.
“For the past 27 parades, at this moment, Savannah, we would turn to Al Roker, who is our Today show colleague and our best pal,” Kotb said in an emotional moment during last year’s parade broadcast.
“But as a lot of you have heard, Al’s recovering,” she continued. “He’s recovering very well from a recent medical issue. And we just want to say, we love you, Al. Wondering if you’re watching, but we wish you a full recovery.”
Ahead of this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al Roker’s co-hosts looked forward to having him back at their sides for the festivities.
“By the way, the parade was not the same without Al. We said it’s not the same without you,” Hoda Kotb told Roker during Monday’s Today show. Roker replied that it “was better” without him, but this, of course, is nonsense. Savannah Guthrie agreed: “No, you are the parade,” she said.
Al Roker Speaks Out on Missing 2022 Parade: ‘I Almost Died’
With almost 3 decades as the host of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it would take a lot for Al Roker to be absent. And sadly, this was the case with his 2022 health scare. The Today show host says he almost didn’t make it through the ordeal.
“It’s no secret that I had a severe medical issue, and to be completely honest, I almost died,” Al Roker said of missing the parade on an episode of the Your Mama’s Kitchen podcast. “But I missed Thanksgiving, and almost missed Christmas. And I forgot how important those touchstone moments are.”
Beyond missing the parade, Al Roker worried that his hospitalization ruined the holidays for his family. This fear helped motivate him to fight his way back to health in time for Christmas.
“I felt, in a sense, badly because I ruined Thanksgiving for the family and I was not going to let that happen for Christmas,” he said. “It was important to me and gave me something to push for. And I made Christmas dinner.”
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will kick off at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, November 23 – with Al Roker in attendance this time around! The parade includes dozens of attractions, including 7 brand-new floats and 4 new balloons!
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