On this day of thanks, I ask that we think about 150,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan and 50,000 serving in Iraq. They work everyday. They risk their lives everyday for us. Some of us may question the value of the two wars. Some soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors might agree. But, they serve all the same. They perform their duty everyday not for fame, not for reward. Recognition is important to them, but that is not why they serve. They perform their duties because they feel a strong duty toward their fellow soldiers and toward us, the folks back home.
Give thanks that after 235 years, we still have soldiers and service members who still step forward, who still do their duty even when they are not always remembered as closely as we could. We are fortunate to have the traditions and culture we do. Many other countries lack that sense of duty. Iraqi service members go home for about a week every month to take home their pay. Many do not return to duty. When they are on duty, many turn away from challenges with a shrug and a barely audible "en sha’ala."
It is said that part of the reason for the fall of the Roman empire was that after hundreds of years, the Roman citizens lost their willingness to fight for their country. The army was populated mostly by non-citizens who in the end, would not resist the invaders. if so, we are a long way from that.
I served briefly in a drill sergeant unit. I loved seeing those young, fresh faced soldiers taking on much more than they really understood. They still volunteer. They reflect us and what we have made of this wonderful country. Let us give thanks.