A year ago to this day I was making my way off of the large cramped cargo plane and onto the hot tarmac of Sather airbase in Baghdad. To be honest Thanksgiving didn’t seem to be filled with much to be thankful for. I was 7000 miles away from my family and friends, I was now having to wear body armor and carry a weapon, I was anxious and unsure of what I would be doing, and to top it all off I had no idea if there would pie with dinner.
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Everything there was unfamiliar and my nerves were on edge. From the airbase with the rest of my squad I loaded onto the armored buses that would take us to our new home. On that trip I wanted to take everything in, all the sights the sounds the smells, well not all of the smells, so naturally I fell asleep within minutes.
Unloading all of my gear and meager amount of personal possessions into the small metal container that would be my home for the remainder of my stay at the base, I just sat there on the bed taking it all in and asking myself, “Why the hell did I volunteer for this?”
That evening the dinning hall had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, and yes they did have pie, and yes I did have seconds. The next morning began my tour in Iraq and each day I came home I was thankful to the soldiers I served with, the family that supported me, the new friends I met, and the fact that I made it through another day.
Today soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are celebrating Thanksgiving, tomorrow the rest of us here in the States will. I hope that you will join me in being thankful to those who serve, to their families that sacrifice and to those who work in organizations like the UN and IOM who dedicate so much of their lives to bring stability in unstable regions.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving day, eat too much, and share wonderful laughter with those you love.