Thanksgiving: turkey, family, holiday cheer, Black Friday shopping, reflecting on the blessings you were given. I have a love/have relationship with this holiday. I love the fact that Thanksgiving brings out the warm love and friendship of people. I love the fact that people can set apart their differences to enjoy each other’s company. I love the fact that it’s an excuse to have the opportunity to cook a huge meal and sit down to enjoy it together.
I hate the fact that Thanksgiving is filled with gluttony. How many pieces of pumpkin pie can I eat today? If I weigh myself before the meal, how many pounds can I gain after? I know for most people this is not a problem or a conviction for them. I just cant help but think of how many starving people are out there that would give anything just to have one potato, or one roll to share with their families. Yet, here we are in America parading the fact that we have more than we can handle (wait don’t we share that with the world every day?!)
I also detest Black Friday. I am an avid deal shopper…and I’m most definitely all about the bargains. However, after working 5 years in the retail business and waking up at 3 am to serve greedy shoppers I’ve learned to hate the holiday. Only in America do people trample and kill each other for a TV sale; when in fact, that TV will be obsolete in a few years anyway. No human life is worth less than $100 dollars off an electronic purchase.
Even with my recent revelations and beliefs…Thanksgiving in America will remain the same year after year. And just like every year, each person is obligated to reflect on what is important to them. Being out of the country this year has opened my eyes to look more holistically at what I’m thankful for.
I know I have just ranted on how terrible America can be…I still appreciate the fact that it is a free country. We are able to practice Christianity without being persecuted. We are able to live without the threat of being under the bondage of another country. I do love my home country, and can honestly say based on the core beliefs and sacrifices many have made for our country, I am proud to be an American.
So what am I thankful for this year? Well, believe it or not, freedom isn’t free. I’ve felt strongly convicted for some time now that those who serve everyday, and are out fighting for our freedom, and the freedom of countries around us…are strongly under-appreciated. It makes me sick to think that some people know every person on a professional football team, or heck even college, yet they don’t even take the time to know who is serving or has served in the military to give them the freedom to even care about football. It’s so tragic to me that professional athletes make millions of dollars a year, yet the ones making the most sacrifices only get paid enough to live paycheck to paycheck.
Call me biased if you want to. Both sides of my family have had strong military involvement…including two of my uncles serving in the Vietnam war, a great uncle serving in WWII, both grandfathers enlisted for a time, as well as my own hero, my father who has been serving all of you US citizens since 1986. Being enlisted is no walk in the park. I do not care which branch you’re in, one is not greater than the other. Each branch has their own special purpose and without one, the rest would fall.
My dad has made so many sacrifices in the over 25 years he has served. He has seen many tours of duty, and is going out on another one this coming March. He has spent lots of time away from home on said deployments, trainings, and ‘base weekends.’ He’s had to miss birthdays and other important events of his three children. Not by choice, but because ‘duty called.’ My dad is the biggest supporter of our family, and has done EVERYTHING in his willpower to be there for us. I am so, so, so proud of him.
My dad looked pretty spiffy at my wedding!
There are many men and women that are deployed and they miss their baby’s birth into the world, their children’s college graduations, and many, many, holidays. Please try to remember that while you’re enjoying the time with your family, no matter what occasion it is, someone is making a sacrifice by not being able to see their family for the same occasion.
Living life with a parent in the military isn’t an easy one. It’s one of those things that you have to go through to know how it feels. Being a little girl and not understanding that your dad is going to be gone for 6 months because he has to go to the Middle East…it just didn’t make sense. Being able to talk to him for 2 minutes on a very lagged conversation where your words and his get jumbled together is not fun. Having to wait a month to receive a note he scribbled down on the back of an MRE package for you is torture as a kid…yet so rewarding when you receive it.
I know technology has advanced over the years, and families are able to communicate via email, Skype, Facebook, and telephone. I could not even imagine how it was 100 years ago, to know someone in your family has to ‘go to war’ yet not hear anything from them for months until that one outdated letter reached you. Wow. Those families must have been made of steel.
The point I am trying to make here is that we Americans have a lot to be thankful for. When was the last time you thanked a Veteran? Or have you ever? They have given you the biggest reason to be thankful for: your freedom. Please don’t forget to pray for your soldiers out fighting day in and day out. They deserve it.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our troops. I am so thankful for everything you do for me, for us, for our Country. Because of you America can enjoy that delicious holiday feast, and the ever-popular game of football. Because of you I can live in South Korea and actually feel safe here (yes, North Korea is only 6 hours away) with the US troops stationed in Seoul and surrounding areas.
Please do not forget your military men and women.