Thursday, November 22, 2007

THANKSGIVING

The word Thanksgiving congers up visions of Plymouth Rock, American Native Indians, venison and Turkey. One might think about people long, long ago dressed in black and white clothing with bonnets and tall black hats with wide brims and a buckle in the center of a hat band. Out in the bay float three ships, sails furled, silently rocking with the incoming tide. My mind's eye reverts back to my childhood on the farm where Thanksgiving promised every conceivable food known to farm folks at that time. The food was all grown at home and prepared by people who were close to the earth. Those were good days. But tonight my thoughts are of our soldiers who are in harms way, holding the line against tierney. We sit here enjoying laughter and friends, thankful for the day off, getting ready for the game on TV and awaiting the second call for food. But there are sons and daughters out there in the sand, their heads constantly moving right and left; looking everywhere, on edge, contemplating fate, each wondering how he or she will react in that moment when action is called for. Even though temperatures are cold; beads of sweat run from just under the hair line and trickle down between the shoulder blades causing the body to shiver and shake uncontrollably for a brief moment. The unknown is out there. To know the unknown is unthinkable. It can not be comprehended. To comprehend the peril is to meet it. The unknown will become reality for many of our warriors. They are the seed of our nation. They are in harm's way. Many have gone and will go. But "all" never, in any war, return. Tonight I remember another time and place. Another continent and another war. It was a vicious little skirmish that proved unpopular at the time and I doubt gained any additional justification from Americans in present times. Vietnam was my war. It was my unknown. My first view of Vietnam was from a jet plane attempting to land at Tann Sun Neut Air Base in South Vietnam. When the plane banked, I saw nothing but enormous craters in the ground. They were so many that each touched the edge of another beside it. I thought, "Good God". Where am I? My first thoughts were that nothing could stay alive on that crater pocked ground. I guess that was the whole idea. The holes went on for a mile in all directions. The results of mortors, bombs and rockets. I'll never forget it. I guess Vietnam was similar to the present day war. The folks sent cookies, and an attempt was made to feed the guys turkey at Thanksgiving. Friends were made. Friends were lost. A deep comradery was existed between the guys who came "in country together." Rice paddy's and mud was the rule of thumb. I guess sand is the terrain of choice today. There wasn't any imaginary line seperating the good from the evil. No enemy territory. The evil ones would appear from nowhere and dissappear as quickly after they did their damage. I suppose it is the same for our warriers today. There is one thing very, very different. And I give thanks for it more than anything else I may have to be thankful for. America is behind our fighters in this war. America is proud of our sons and daughters. America has chosen to stand united behind every soldier. America has sent her best to defend her principles. There was another war where returning soldiers were chastised. Americans in airports yelled "baby killer" directly at our returning men. Eggs were sometimes thrown at them. Folks passing by would turn their faces away as if in shame when nearing a returning GI. Soldiers would shed their uniforms at the airport if they had civilian clothing with them so not to be identified as military. But that was a different time. Blood is still red and it flows just as freely now as it did then. Our nation has sent the best it has; our son's, daughter's and friends in harm's way. They are the barrier against evil. They are putting it on the line. Think about it just a little before that next mouthful of stuffing. Give thanks and appreciation to all those who have served this great country. And remember those who have sacrificed their very lives in wars gone by so that we can enjoy what and who we are today. Happy Thanksgiving...