Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

Thanksgiving - in the military - when you are deployed is special holiday to reflect on the comaradere we share, the friends we have lost, how much we have accomplished, and how much our families sacrifice while we are gone. We have a huge meal and a take a day off, as much as the job will allow.

My day began early with a 0700 start to the second annual 10k Turkey Trot, where one hundred plus crazy people got up early and braved the moon surfaced road for two loops through the FOB. I was joined by three of my Soldiers and we set off around the perimeter walls with the sun casting long shadows in front of us.

By the second lap, the crowd thinned out considerably. Runners were either really fast, really slow, or smart enough to drop out on the first lap. I knew my knees wouldn't forgive me and since I was thankful for them, I slowed my pace to a respectable 7:30 minute pace. I finished in 47:16ish. I got my free t-shirt and headed for the room to shower.

I went to my office for an hour. One, just to say I was there, and two to check for any late night emails that higher headquarters sends long after we close shop for the night. I went over to the Thanksgiving service at the outdoor stage. It was very ecumenical; a little Catholic, a little Baptist, a little Contemporary Christian. I was reminded of the many blessings I have in family, friends, and fellow Soldiers and I took time to say, "thank you."

After service I got my First Sergeant to go help serve the holiday meal. Like I said, the holiday meal is taken very seriously by the military, especially the cooks who pride themselves on the work they put into this meal. And everybody on the FOB knows it. The smell of delicious food floats over the base. That's why the line to get into the dining facility was out the door...

and into the building itself. The meal is not only about the food but it is about the decorations. Every table had a setting with gold table cloths, center pieces, real glasses for sparkling juice, and every chair was wrapped in cloth. It gave the impression that you were in someones home or a very nice resturaunt.

The cooks spend a lot of time on the decorations. This cornicopia is made of baked bread and is only one of the half dozen I saw.

This floral arrangement is made of vegtables. If you look carefully you will notice that the flowers are red, yellow, and green peppers. Radishes and carrots make up some of the smaller flowers.

The entire hall leaves you impressed that someone took this much time to prepare a meal.

The best part of the day for me is when I get to serve the Soldiers. I learned of this in 2004. It is a great way to give back to the men and women who consistently work hard for their leadership. It is an honor and a priveledge.

In 2004 they stuck me on turnups, or green beans, or some other thing that only a few people wanted. Not this year! This year, by pure luck, I got to serve the turkey! Two kinds! Roasted and home style! My First Sergeant got prime rib and ham steak, so together we were dishing it out and piling it on.

After the meat line, came the stuffing, potatoes, yams, shrimp, and salad lines. After our entire company came through our line and when they were done, we grabbed out plates and joined them. It is now 2131 (8:31pm) and I am still not hungry after my early afternoon meal.

Give thanks today for all that you have.

And later on in the day some good souls sat down and started to personalize Christmas ornaments. We set up the tree and lights and decorations in order to get stay the holiday spirit. With the holidays are fast approaching, and from the B/403rd family to you, Happy Thanksgiving!

No comments: