The is a little more than a week away and families and friends across the country typically gather together around the dinner table to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all of the trimmings. This primarily American holiday originally celebrated a successful corn harvest during the days of the pilgrims in Massachusetts and has evolved today into many different meanings, including being grateful for the food and shelter people possess but it should also include being grateful to the military service our American soldiers provide.
While many Americans have the day off from work and students wont have to attend classes, those military service men and women who remain stationed overseas in countries such as and won’t necessarily have the same benefit of having time off and unfortunately many American citizens tend to forget that. Being stationed overseas in the Middle East is a 24/7 job and it wouldn’t be unusual for a soldier to be on guard duty or a mission while his fellow soldiers are trying to enjoy a special meal. In fact, because it is a primarily American holiday, the Thanksgiving holiday might be more of a military alert than a day of thanks for those brave soldiers in the Middle East.
It’s true that American soldiers will be pulling out of Iraq next month, hopefully before the Christmas holidays. But all of those soldiers in the Middle East are still at risk of being killed or maimed before their tour of duty overseas is over. To not be able to come home despite being just days away from discharge could mean incredible tragedy to soldiers and their loved ones. It’s also quite likely that many or all of these American soldiers are thinking about the prospects of returning home soon and returning home safely. It’s also likely that they know that the possibility of death before returning home is a very sad reality.
During this Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage Americans to take an extra moment to give thanks to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, particularly those who are in locations throughout the world where hazardous duty is involved. Whether or not you agree with the war effort, the Thanksgiving holiday should not be a time of turning your back towards these soldiers, who risk their lives everyday while defending our country. Let us give thanks to all of them, while looking forward to the ensuing days when many are returning home back to the United States.