Below is a post I wrote a few years ago for Thanksgiving, and remembrance of our soldiers who might be away at this time of year. I hope you enjoy, and I hope we all have a Happy Thanksgiving season.
This is a personal message to the families of our soldiers. Today is Thanksgiving, but as you sit down for your family dinner, something is missing. A chair remains empty. As you sit with loved ones, giving thanks. your heart breaks while glancing at the empty chair. How I remember those days of emptiness. My first Thanksgiving as a newly married woman, my husband phoned to say he was leaving Ft. Dix, NJ — departing to Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day. It was truly the saddest Thanksgiving of my life. I glanced at the dining room chair he always sat at, knowing he would not share that date with me. The next year, I baked the turkey, dressing and trimmings, imagining he would be home for Thanksgiving. Awaiting a phone call saying he was on his way home, I wanted to make certain everything was perfect. The phone call never arrived. Fearful something dreadful had happened, I phoned the American Red Cross. I was told ‘when he’s missing for over 30 days, call us again!’ How cold and inhumane! There was no one I could phone to see where my husband was. I imagined the worst — in the event something had happened to him. Slowly, the days ticked away. Finally on December 5 of that year, he phoned. He was coming home!
Perhaps America and the military learned a lot from Vietnam. Now, there are family support groups. We had the “Waiting Wives” Club. Trust me…many of them were not waiting wives! Now, families and children are able to SKYPE the soldier. E-mail and cell phones bring the distance closer, and many military groups do what they can to assist the families. Thank goodness!
Today is Thanksgiving. I hope your family is connected, even when the soldiers are away. Give Thanks for the electronic venues available to make the opportunity to speak to your loved one. If you have a Flat Daddy, instead of looking at an empty chair, place the image of Flat Daddy in the chair. If you haven’t heard about “Flat Daddy” — it is an image of your loved one where you can take photographs and remember “Flat Daddy,” and perhaps there is a “Flat Mommy” too!
To all of our precious troops, I hope your Thanksgiving will be a special, precious moment where your family and friends will give thanks for all of the honor, integrity and freedom our soldiers give for our freedom. May today be a day where you will share SKYPE and voice connections. Thank you, Soldiers for all you are doing for us, and for freedom. Your courage, honor and dedication to the mission at hand is not forgotten. We miss you. We love you, and we support your missions. Thank goodness things have changed significantly since Vietnam!!! Today, on Thanksgiving, there will be an empty chair, until you come home! May God bless and keep you safe and may you know we are so thankful for you!