Thanksgiving is all about spending time with family, friends and those whom we hold most dear. It is the one holiday where we gather together and reflect upon all that we have.
But what about those who cannot be with their families during this special time of year?
Specifically, I am talking about the men and women who are serving in our armed forces. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is sometimes easy to forget what is important.
Here are five mindful reasons all of us should remember the many men and women serving in the United States military this Thanksgiving holiday.
Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!
1. Military personnel are in combat zones right now
As we sit down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with the people closest to us, an estimated 38,000 soldiers are serving in Afghanistan. Several thousand still remain in Iraq. Many of these fine service members are away from their families and loved ones.
2. Over 80,000 service members are serving outside of the USA in contingency operations
The United States military is involved with a number of worldwide contingency operations. Current estimates suggest that over 80,000 service members are actively serving in non-combat roles in locations spanning the globe.
3. PTSD is still a very real concern for active duty military members
We may not hear as much about active duty service members and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as we used to but PTSD is still a going concern among those who serve in combat zones. It is important to note that PTSD still continues to be a challenge for many veterans who have served in our nation’s wars and conflicts.
4. Many children will be without a parent at the table on Thanksgiving
On Thanksgiving day and throughout the holiday season, many children will find a parent missing at the dinner table. This is because their mom or dad is deployed overseas. Long-term deployments can cause a great deal of stress to be placed on the family members who are left behind. We need to remember military spouses and their children particularly at this time of giving thanks.
5. We would not enjoy our many freedoms if not for our military
It goes without saying that none of us would be able to enjoy Thanksgiving or any other holiday without the dedication and sacrifice of those who are actively serving in the U.S. armed forces. At times, our world can be an uncertain and dangerous place. We should never take for granted our freedoms and remember all that our amazing military members do to protect us.
I encourage you to be mindful of our military personnel over the Thanksgiving holiday and think about all that you enjoy because of their sacrifices. If you see someone in military uniform at the airport, train station or bus depot, extend your hand and give thanks. It will mean the world to them!
For all who have previously served our country, thank you for your sacrifice. We honor you as well over this Thanksgiving holiday.