Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I have the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with the people I'm most thankful to have in my family, including my fiancee and our children. We'll get to spend the day with our friends and neighbors as they've become a big part of our family too!

Having spent many Thanksgivings deployed to regions all over the world I can just imagine how our servicemen and women overseas are doing at this holiday. They're waiting in long lines or getting up at crazy hours to place that phone call home. To hear the voice of that someone very special and so very missed. They're wondering how their families are coping on this day and if the traditions they've started for every Thanksgiving are still being done in their absence? Did Mom serve the mash pototoes and stuffing that can't be matched by anyone on the Food Channel?

Yet, while our deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are missing loved ones back at home they have two other important things on their minds. First, the mission. While the chow halls are packed with very hungry and tired professionals, just as abundant as appetites are cell phones, radios, beepers, and weapons. The 24/7 life in a combat zone makes true celebration and relaxation difficult to achieve. Although the exceptional food, decorations, holiday music, and uniforms of all gathered make these deployed Thanksgiving Days different, the routine and the 'get-er-done' mentality remain constant.

The second thing I remember most from deployed Thanksgivings is the sense of family I got with those I served with. Despite all the tense work, long days and nights, and spending nearly all waking hours with the same people, I wanted to spend more time with them on Thanksgiving. If I couldn't have my family with me on this special ocassion, then I wanted to be with these fine men and women. The bond between us, yes, a Band of Brothers, always strengthened during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone knew what each other was missing and had thoughts of being at home. That empathy was understood and fostered that family feeling.

So today while I'm glad to be at home with friends and family I'm thankful to the men and women in uniform who are currently deployed (and their families!!) for the sacrifice they're making for us. They're the ones who'll be on my mind on this day. Thank you!

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