This was a guest author – just wanted to clarify that I didn’t write this. Credit for this beautiful post goes to Rob at Leaning Right.
As we celebrate the day when we do not feel guilty for overeating or loafing, we must also take time out to think about for what we are thankful. In recent years, Thanksgiving has been tarnished by those who spread lies about the first Thanksgiving (Indians cooked for all the white people, then the white people slaughtered them, etc.), people have become less and less apt to celebrate it. So today, I ask you all to take a break from the news. Take a break from your sweet potato pie and NFL football (how bout them Titans?). We live in the finest country on earth and there is no legitimate argument to not reflect on how lucky we are.
My list of thanks:
1) Lance Corporal James Daniel Hirlston, US Marine Corps, Rockvale, Tennessee. Died August 23, 2006, Anbar Province, Iraq.
James (or JD as we called him growing up) was one of my best friends as a child. In 3rd grade we did a science project on Mars. That summer, he stayed at my house for 9 weeks as his parents were out of town on a second honeymoon. He was one of the kindest, gentlest person I ever knew. We lost touch after 8th grade when we went to different schools, but I learned that he had dropped out of High School only to start back to get his diploma. After graduation, He wanted nothing more than to serve his country through the US Marine Corps. The newspapers never said exactly what killed him; only that he died conducting combat operations in Iraq. JD is a great American who died serving his country that he loved so well. His sense of patriotism is greater than any I will ever know. I am thankful for him.
2. 1st Lt. Frank Walkup, United States Army, Woodbury, TN. Died June 16, 2007, Kirkuk, Iraq.
I met Frank when I joined the JROTC unit at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, TN as a Freshman. Frank was the Batalion XO and the CO of the Drill Team. He immediatly took me as a friend and gave me the knickname “Scrub.” Frank was a natural leader who loved all people and never had anything mean to say about a single person. One day during PT, I was falling behind. Frank fell back and talked to me. “Scrub,” he said. “You cant let these guys beat you.” I told him I was just tired and out of shape and that I couldnt do it. “Look man,” he told me. “I’m a fatass and I smoke. I can still beat these guys and I know you can too. You know why? Cause I hate losing. I will die before I let someone else beat me. Now I know you can do it. Just step it up. The pain is good.” Frank was a motivator. After he graduated he enterred ROTC at UT-Knoxville and then entered the Army upon graduation as a Leuitenant. he was killed by an IED while serving his country in Iraq. I am thankful for Frank.
3. Sgt. Lee Krabel, US Army; Lt. Daniel Knick, US Army; Sgt. Eddie Bozeman, US Marine Corps; Sgt. Bradley O’brien, US Marine Corps; SPC. Shawn Napier, US Army; PFC. William Groce, US Army; Sgt. Josh Baker, US Marine Corps; Nickole Heater, US Air Force;
All of the above are people close friends of mine who have served their country in Uniform. Most of them are combat veterans of Iraq and/or Afghanistan. They have all risked their lives for our nation; for our freedom. I cannot begin to list all of the great things they have done and how they have effected my life. A simple thank you can in no way suffice.
4. All men and women listed here.
The Iraq War Heroes website is dedicated to the memory of all people who have fought and died for their nation during the War on Terror.
5. President George W. Bush.
President Bush has been criticized by most but has managed to stay on his feet. He has done everything in his power to protect our country and our liberty during the last 8 years. He is MY president and I am eternally grateful for all he has offered, even the many things on which I have disagreed with him.
6. President-elect Barack Obama
Mr. Obama, through many ways, renewed faith in the American government in many voters. I did not vote for him and I plan to fight many of his policies. However, he will be MY president and I am grateful for the personal sacrifice he is making to help serve his country. I pray for him every night, that he might do nothing but good for our Country and our World.
7. The Constitution of the United States.
The Constitution is the most brilliant work of political orgnaization ever composed. Our founders worked and compromised for years to contruct the document that today binds our country together. They studied history, sociology, and political philosophy to give us the greatest Country on earth. It is because of this constitution that we are the ONLY country in the entire world with nearly unlimited free speech. It is because of this constitution that we are free to practice our OWN religion anywhere we want without fear of prosecution. It is because of this constitution that we have minimal risk of being falsly convicted of a crime in comparison to other nations. It is because of this constitution that were our leaders to ever become Tyrants, we would have the capabilities to revolt and form a new government. It is because of this constitution that MY destiny is purely dependant on how hard I work and how I react to circumstances that come before me. I am eternally thankful for this document.
I hope that you will not only think today of all the things you are thankful. I hope that as you go about your Christmas shopping tomorrow, as you go to school or work in the coming weeks, as you eat your dinner, drive your car, buy your clothes, sleep safely at night, pay your taxes, go to church, tie your shoes, wash your hair, apply your deoderant, watch Football, go to a Hockey game, check your email, add an appointment to your calendar, frame your pictures, practice your guitar, tip your waiter, do your laundry, fail a test, go through a drivethrough, deposit your paycheck, AIM your best friend or jump off a tree into a river for fun, that you will remember that it is ONLY because of those who have served that you are able to do these things. Were it not for those who died, or those who were lucky enough to come home, you would have none of what you have today.
So today and in the future, be selfless when you see a man or woman in Uniform. Walk up to them and say “God Bless you, for you have blessed me.”