Thursday, January 20, 2022

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving…

Coming home. Submitted

Coming home. Submitted

I was watching the homecoming of a Marine Regiment from Iraq on TV about a week ago and what a young Lance Corporal said stuck in mind, maybe forever. “Until you go overseas and see how they live and what they have, you will never appreciate where we live and what we have.” Maybe this does not come off as such a profound statement to millions of us who saw the light and emigrated to this great country; but it is always good to repeat the statement to our youngsters who walk around with iPods, communicate through “Facebook,” post their photos on “My Space”, live life through 30 minute TV Shows, get all upset about the taste of their Latte at Starbucks and get hooked on unreal “reality shows” on TV.

This young Lance Corporal had seen it all; beheadings, night patrols through dangerous neighborhoods, kids without shoes and proper clothing living in dilapidated dirt floored homes with no running water, trash piling in every street corner, jobless and hopeless men milling around towns aimlessly and roadside bombs killing his fellow

Thanksgiving in Iraq. Submitted

Thanksgiving in Iraq. Submitted

Marines. Upon coming home, he must have taken a look around and after taking a deep breath, smelling the unmistakable smell of freedom and feeling that indescribable feeling of security made this statement.

I know I am always accused of being totally biased about my opinions about my adopted country. That is all right with me; I enjoy being accused of loving my country and look for more of the same accusations year after year. That is probably why around this time every year just before the Thanksgiving Holiday, I feel a very strong urge to go somewhere where I can be alone, look around, smell the air, feel the freedom and absorb everything that was given to me by this country. I am thankful for everything in my life and I feel strongly that Thanksgiving Holiday is a great time to show my appreciation and give my thanks.

So, here I am sitting alone by the seashore; it is very early in the morning and the sun is just beginning to



rise over the horizon. It is very quiet and peaceful this early in the morning and I am thinking about the experiences of this young Lance Corporal along with millions of others who served in Iraq and other foreign lands must have had. They must certainly have seen some pretty ugly things and surreal situations and tried to cope with them. They must have thought about home a lot and watched the people around them suffer on a daily basis, just trying to make it through the day only to be shot at, dragged around and blown up or even beheaded by their own fellow citizens. The comparisons they made must have been eye-opening and mind-boggling for these young Marines, soldiers and sailors. I say this only because I know firsthand what they experienced; what they saw and what they tried to cope with. I have been there and seen all this misery, the uncertainty and the hopelessness and after all these years still think and dream about them from time to time.

That is why I am thankful to be

Historic American flag. Submitted

Historic American flag. Submitted

an American citizen; thankful I am living in America where we believe in equal rights and justice for all; thankful that my rights as an individual are respected; thankful for being able to go to work every day without fear of being blown up or kidnapped.

I am thankful for my family; my father and mother who are still alive and in reasonably good health, my sister who is a cancer survivor, my wife and partner of 39 years; my children, my grandchildren and all our dear friends and associates on Marco Island.

I am thankful to all the members of the Armed forces who serve voluntarily around the world away from their families and loved ones and have to make the ultimate sacrifice when needed just to make it possible for us to live here in peace and enjoy our daily lives.

Thanksgiving Holiday is definitely a time to give thanks; it is not just roasted turkey and trimmings, not just pumpkin pie and football games. Let us all be thankful for what we have and think of ways to make life better for those who do not…

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