For many of us, Thanksgiving will mean a day of enjoying family and sharing a banquet of carefully prepared family favorites. Ultimately, the meal will end with a raucous football game, perhaps sharing family stories, no doubt with a lot of love and laughter. Thanksgiving should be a day full of sharing special moments with the ones that we love and making memories that will live on.
During this special American holiday where we draw near to family and celebrate this 150 year old tradition, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the dedicated men and women of our U.S. military.
More than 130,000 service members won’t be able to go home for the holidays because they are serving abroad, according to the latest Defense Department figures. For our military loved ones on active duty, Thanksgiving will mean something a bit different. It will be a longing for the things that we may take for granted. A desire for the shared moments with family, the smells of a kitchen filled with an aroma of a feast, the sounds of banter and laughter with friends, the closeness of a loved one’s hug or touch. They have a true, deep appreciation for the comforts of home and family that we get to enjoy every day because they know what it’s like to miss it. This is one of the many reasons why our military men and women do what they do. So that we have the freedom to celebrate according to our own personal faiths, customs and traditions.
Thank you to our dedicated soldiers who go without so that we can have. God bless you and keep you this Thanksgiving Day celebration and may you come home soon (and safe) to enjoy some of the comforts that you work so hard to protect.
One Mother’s Letter To A Soldier
Here is a thank you letter written to a soldier that perfectly sums up this message.
Dear deployed service member:
Last night, I packed my suitcase for a trip to see my family. The last time you packed your bags, it was for a yearlong trip away from yours.
We’ll soon crowd into our car and head to my parents’ house at the shore. You’ll step into a Humvee and convoy through a combat zone.
Tomorrow I’ll sit down for a Thanksgiving feast at a table surrounded by my loved ones. You’ll join your battle buddies in a dining facility.
At night, I’ll lay my son down in his bed for the night. You’ll lay down your rifle to catch some sleep in between missions.
I’ll check on my children one last time before I head to bed. You’ll blow a kiss to yours through a computer screen.
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for your service. For being among the 1 percent of Americans willing to part from your family for up to a year and put yourself in harm’s way for me and my family.
Even though you’re thousands of miles away, rest assured your sacrifices don’t go unnoticed. It’s my family’s tradition to say what we’re thankful for at our holiday dinner. This year, I’ll be sure to say how thankful I am for you.
– By Elaine Sanchez: http://afps.dodlive.mil/2011/11/23/a-thank-you-letter-to-our-troops/#sthash.DQdQoTWT.dpuf
Help Show Our Troops Our Gratitude
Here are a few national organizations where you can find out how you can show our troops that you care:
USO – Send a Thank You To Our Troops
Our brave servicemen and women are making remarkable sacrifices for our country in forward operating bases around the world.
As they fight for our safety abroad and as they return home, let’s show our troops and their families just how much we appreciate their service.
Help the USO show our troops our gratitude.
Red Cross – Holiday Mail For Heroes
The cards and personal messages, sent by tens of thousands of Americans, provide a welcome “touch of home” for our troops during the holiday season.
USO Holiday Boxes
Service members receive fun holiday items, such as edible treats, greeting cards, DVDs and hand and feet warmers.
You can select who you want to send a package to, see the service member’s wish list and then send the package directly to the service member.
Donate money or items from the most wanted list, including iTunes gift cards, board games and toiletries. The not-for-profit sends the items in care packages to deployed troops.
Want to know how our troops really feel about our support?
Read thank you letters from our troops who have received letters and care packages from this dedicated organization.