There will be turkey tomorrow, brought in under fire by helicopter, if necessary, and served with sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy. The military does Thanksgiving well.
There will be phone calls home; a lot of messages sent on the Internet; much loneliness, some fear.
Back here in the states, in the neighborhoods that surround the big military bases in Texas or California or Georgia—or anyplace where a guard unit has been deployed—there will be parents showing kids a photograph of a foreign landscape, with mom or dad, in uniform, maybe in Kevlar, maybe with a weapon.
In other homes, it will be a holiday of piercing sadness. The empty space at dinner will belong to one of the 5,000 who never made it home.
They have been at it for seven years now, and there is no immediate end in sight. And, so far, we have not forgotten their bravery. They are beloved, and honored, by the folks they protect, and serve.
And if our efforts to welcome them home, to heal their wounds and comfort them, are yet imperfect, let's resolve, tomorrow, that we will keep on trying to make it better. And never to take their sacrifice for granted.
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