Thanksgiving marks the season when hearts begin turning towards home, and this year again finds many of our young men and women in a war they did not choose, but one they are bravely waging. Some have given their lives to protect not only you and me and our children from enemies who hate us, but to liberate a people who are oppressed by these same enemies. None of us should ever take any of this for granted.
It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since President Bush made his surprise visit to our troops in Baghdad last Thanksgiving. It was the topic of discussion across many dinner tables that day, I’m sure. It was also the hot topic in Iraq amongst the troops. The following email from a Captain who was present recounts:
" We knew there was a dinner planned with Ambassador Bremer and General Sanchez. There were 600 seats available and all the units in the division were tasked with filling the tables. I chose not to go. At about 1500 [hours] the G2, LTC Devan, came up to me and with a smile, asked me to come to dinner with him, to meet him in his office at 1600 and bring a camera. I didn't really care about getting a picture with Sanchez or Bremer, but when the division's senior intelligence officer asks you to go, you go.
" We were seated in the chow hall, fully decorated for Thanksgiving when all kinds of Secret Service guys showed up. That was my first clue, because Bremer's been here before and his personal security detachment is not that big. Bremer thanked us all and pulled out a piece of paper as if to give a speech. He mentioned that the President had given him this Thanksgiving speech to give to the troops. He then paused and said that the senior man present should be the one to give it. He then looked at Sanchez, who just smiled.
" Bremer then said that we should probably get someone more senior to read the speech. Then, from behind the camouflage netting, the President came around. The mess hall erupted with hollering. Troops bounded to their feet with shocked smiles and began cheering with all their hearts. The building actually shook. It was just unreal. I was absolutely stunned. Not only for the obvious, but also because I was only two tables away from the podium. There he stood, less than thirty feet away from me! The cheering went on and on and on.”
Those who have been in the military, especially during war, and their families, truely know how important encouraging our troops is. When they speak we should listen.
Today we have an all volunteer army, and soldiers know when they sign up that it means they may have to go to war. They understand that’s what the military is for, to protect and to fight, if necessary. Yet for some reason, the bleeding-heart liberals, the anti-war folks, just don’t get it. They talk about our troops as though they are victims. They are not victims. They are trained, brave men and women doing what the military does.
As President Bush said to the troops when he was in Iraq, “Each one of you has answered a great call, participating in an historic moment in world history. You live by a code of honor, of service to your nation, with the safety and the security of your fellow citizens. Our military is full of the finest people on the face of the earth. I'm proud to be your Commander-in-Chief."
Three months after my husband, Duane, and I were married he was drafted. Then after boot camp and NCO (non-commissioned offier) school he was sent to Vietnam. Our second Thanksgiving as a couple Duane spent in the jungles half way around the world from our dinner table.
What was it like for our troops then? Just off of a 6-day mission, living on C-rations, Duane’s company made their way to a landing area where helicopters could come in and drop off hot food. It was especially welcomed, because it was Thanksgiving. Duane said while it didn’t compare to home cooking, for instance, the milk they had was irradiated so that it would stay unrefrigerated for two weeks, they were grateful…grateful to be alive and healthy. Having just gone through some battles, they were grateful they were not constantly in fire fights.
I asked Duane what was the atmosphere like as the troops were eating. He said it was quiet. Everyone was thinking about home.
A few days later I had a wonderful surprise. Our local town newspaper, the Pacifica Tribune, had an article about how our troops spent Thanksgiving. On the front page, the featured story had a picture of our men eating a turkey meal in the jungles of Vietnam, and the soldier in the middle of the picture - was Duane. I couldn’t believe it! Was it a good Thanksgiving for me that year? You bet it was.
When you’re down to life and death issues, they have a way of putting things into perspective. You find yourself grateful for the smallest things, the things that really matter.
We may be going on with our lives here at home, but a war is going on overseas, and our soldiers are down to life and death issues. That’s why I regularly emphasize on my radio show to support our troops with notes and in any way we can, to send a little bit of home to them. It really does mean all the world to them.
Here are a few ways you can show your support and thank a soldier this holiday season. I hope you’ll put your appreciation, that I know you have for our troops, into action in one of these ways. It can make all the difference in the world to a young soldier fighting overseas. Won’t you encourage a soldier today?
You can sign a virtual thank you card: http://www.defendamerica.mil/nmam.html
Send a care package via Operation Gratitude: http://opgratitude.com/website/html/index.php
Request fan mail to be sent to soldiers you know: http://www.militarymail.org/
Give money to help send gifts to our troops: http://www.operationmilitarysupport.com/send_money.htm
Post a message to any service member: http://www.anyservicemember.org/cgi-bin/soldier/guestbook.cgi?postingform
You can hear the account of how President Bush pulled off his secret trip to Baghdad last year in order to be with our troops for Thanksgiving, as well as Hillary Clinton's response and more, on our show at 6:30 pm this Friday, November 26th, on KDIA AM1640 San Francisco, or online all weekend at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/changing_worldviews/ . Plus our one hour special including an interview with modern historian, William Federer, on "Messing with Thanksgiving", about the revisionists' rewriting of this American holiday, online at www.rightalk.com .
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