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Commentary: Give thanks for those who answer call

By Caroline Peabody

FORT MONROE, Va. (Army News Service, Nov. 23, 2005) –- Thanksgiving is a special time for our nation. We remember our forefathers’ journey to a new land – seeking freedom from persecution, finding a country that presented the opportunity for peace and a fruitful future -- for which we give thanks this time of year.

We also celebrate our military families this time of year during National Military Family Week. Many –- more than a quarter of a million people –- face this holiday without their loved ones. Their loved ones have traveled to a strange land.

They battle loneliness and have answered our country’s call to serve and bring that seed of hope to another nation. They are alone, working to band with their brothers, to survive … to bring hope … to one day come home.

It is sometimes difficult to remain aware of the sacrifice of military families. But it is our duty as citizens, as caring humans, to carry the lamp and recognize the meaning of duty and celebrate, embrace and support all those who answer the call.

So many families in our nation will sit across from an empty chair while we enjoy our feasts. Their table will be quieter than ours. Their hearts heavier. They will carry worries we do not share – but can remember. For we can give thanks for their service and pray for the safety of their loved ones until they return.

We give thanks and remember that each day we awaken rested, we remember those who pray for one night’s sleep without nightmares. We give thanks that for each step we take with our legs, there are those who have sacrificed their mobility. We give thanks that for each vision we see, every time we are able to look at our loved ones, we have the ability to revel in their joy.

Most of all, we give thanks that we are blessed. Blessed to be a part of a nation that is so prosperous. Blessed that we have our families and shelter and food.

We are also blessed to have the ability to pray for the strength and courage to maintain awareness of our brother’s sacrifice – to give to our community in any way we can, as they are giving in service to their call. This is our duty: to give thanks … to pray … to remember.

(ARNews Editor’s note: Caroline Peabody is president of the Military Family Network, based in Hampton, Va. The Military Family Network, www.emilitary.org, is a community network helping military families get connected with each other and organizations in their communities. This article was first posted by the TRADOC News Service.)

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