In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. As the nation was being torn apart by Civil War, Lincoln was able to see the value of a day that celebrates our togetherness and invites us to think about the things we are thankful for. Our country has a number of great traditions and Thanksgiving is one that brings American families together each year.
During this time of war, as many Americans travel long distances to be together this Thursday, many will have empty seats at their tables. There are thousands of brave young men and women in uniform fighting two wars overseas. They are away from home and the ones they love for the greater good of our nation.
Six years ago those soldiers waged a heroic battle during the Iraq war to capture the city of Fallujah. Citizens United Productions released “Perfect Valor,” a vivid war documentary hosted by Senator Fred Thompson in 2009. The award-winning documentary tells the true story of the soldiers who fought in the battle of Fallujah. When you watch the documentary you will see why America has the best military in the world. The men and women featured in “Perfect Valor” are this generation’s “Band of Brothers.”
As our men and women serve, they are not the only ones sacrificing. They leave their families at home to bear the burden and wear the worry. Many in our military ranks have served multiple tours overseas. The stress on those families with sons, daughters, husbands, and wives serving in Iraq or Afghanistan must be overwhelming, especially during the holiday season. However, it is this American mentality that allows our soldiers and their families to know that they’re serving for something bigger than themselves. They know that they are not only protecting us all from harm, but that they’re out there fighting for our very way of life.
When I sit down at the Thanksgiving table with my family later this week, I will say a prayer for those who are serving overseas, and those who have been lost. There are some who loosely describe athletes or celebrities as heroes, but it is our own American soldier who inconspicuously puts his or her life on the line every single day that are the true heroes. Though there are some that may forget or take for granted the sacrifices that these courageous soldiers must endure in order to protect our liberty, we cannot fail to remember. We should be giving thanks to them each and every day…not just on this official day of thanks. When we pass a person in uniform or notice a veteran, we should take a moment to express our gratitude. We should also think of those heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice and will not be home this Thanksgiving.