By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nearly 26,000 members of the National Guard were called to Washington, D.C. to protect President Joe Biden’s inauguration after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Some of those troops will stay on duty for several more weeks.

“I want to thank everyone who answered this call as part of the 92,000 we have on duty today,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson said in a video posted on Twitter.

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They left home by the thousands in early January, and now, some in the National Guard are learning they won’t be returning home from Washington until mid-March.

Up to 7,000 National Guards troops will be staying in the nation’s capital. Members from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware were all called to protect Biden’s inauguration after the Capitol building was rioted by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, resulting in five people being killed.

“Thank you for upholding your oath to the constitution, ensuring the safety and welfare of our citizens, and for the long days and cold nights and time away from your family, friends, and employers. Like our forefathers, you prove every day our motto of our citizen soldiers and airmen always ready, always there will remain steadfast and true,” Hokanson said.

While praised for their work, their deployment did not come without controversy.

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The Capitol Police Department forced many members out of the building during their rest periods. That decision was eventually reversed but resulted in backlash from governors and even an apology from Biden.

To reinforce the apology, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden brought chocolate chip cookies to National Guard troops from Delaware.

Saying, the Bidens are a National Guard family, First Lady Jill Biden greets members of the National Guard with chocolate chip cookies outside the Capitol. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/POOL/AFP)

In a statement, the National Guard says it’s in D.C. providing assistance with security, communication, and logistics.

The National Guard has not said if they will continue to be armed during this extended stay.

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