We can all recall times when Thanksgiving was joyful, filled with family and friends gathering to overeat, and renew old relationships, even with estranged members of our own family.
One Thursday in particular sticks in my memory, though not as a good day. It was the late 1960s, my first cousin had dropped out of college, got drafted and then married, and there was a baby on the way. Steve was a PFC in the 101st Airborne, and was sent to Vietnam where he died in 1968, just a month and a half after he was in-country.
My Mom and Dad decided to go ahead and have the traditional turkey dinner with his parents, my aunt and uncle. Steve's young wife did not come; she stayed with her parents. My uncle was quiet and reflective, and at the same time asked if he could give the blessing for Thanksgiving. It was about loss, about forgiveness, and about hope, something that was in short supply at that table that day. We ate in silence, consumed by what he had said.
As they said goodbye I remember we were all humbled by his words. They were heartfelt and yet tragic.
Steve's name is engraved on that black wall in Washington, Panel 50E, Line 21. I go as often as I can to thank him for what he did. That's my thanksgiving this year and every year since 1968.
Blessed Thanksgiving to all Insiders - here's a laugh:
Holiday periods, such as Thanksgiving, do cause us to reflect upon the past, and I'm so sorry for your family loss in years past. I remember a few years ago, one week end before Christmas, that my oldest daughter, then in her mid 40's, was hit by a motorist while she was jogging on the road. She was left in the ditch alongside the road. Fortunately, a passerby saw her and she was airlifted to the nearest hospital (Memphis) where she was operated on for multiple leg fractures. A steel rod was inserted into her large leg bone, but some three months later, when the bone did not heal properly, the local surgeon had to remove the rod and reset her bone. Recently, she and her husband returned the scene of that hit-and-run incident, and she is once again jogging, but these cold days - when the metal rod feels the temperature change - she is reminded of this occasion. Thankfully, she is alive and has been given the grace to overcome this. In fact, today, she and her family are in eastern Arkansas at a hunting lodge near where this event took place.
We all have trying moments like this in our lives - some much more tragic than what we've experienced - but at this time of the year I think it does us good to express our thanks in a variety of ways. For our family, we can affirm: "We know that God causes all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
Very touching words from anadyr and fschumpert.....thank you for sharing them and Rom 8:28 was my Father's favorite Bible verse. This would have been his 93rd birthday today on this Thanksgiving 2013, same day as my best friend (other than my wife) so I thank you for the special reminder of my Dad.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and remember to give thanks for all we have.