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Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Day of Thanks

Wishing you and yours all the best this Thanksgiving Day.


Dear Lord
please hear this prayer.
This year, I'll leave an empty chair
to mark the spot
where someone should have been.
My son is home
but many sons are not;
and so I thought
I'd say a prayer for them -
and for those who wait,
hoping that it's not too late.
Lord, when you see that empty space
meant for those who haven't come home yet -
Let them know -
I didn't forget.

©Copyright October 1998 by Christina

A note from Christina:
While this was written for POW/MIAs,
it also has meaning for us now in these troubled days.


Ways to Thank our Heroes:

Stars and Stripes Holiday Messages

America Supports You

Soldiers' Angels


Operation AC

Operation Affirmative

Operation A Bit of Home

Operation Cookie Drop

Operation Uplink

Gifts from Gamers

Other Links


Musician Cliff Knizley is also offering a 2 for 1 special on his "Letters to Baghdad" CD this holiday season - if you haven't gotten one yet, pick up one for yourself, and give one to a Hero you know. You'll also be helping some you don't - proceeds from this CD are going to various military charities.


Graphics in this post courtesy of

U.S. Army soldiers search the car of a man who has raised their suspicions during a joint cordon and search operation in the Patika province of Iraq, Nov 18, 2006. The soldiers are assigned to the 25th Infantry Division's Company D, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Guillory

The Volunteer's Thanksgiving

by Lucy Larcom (from Our Young Folks, January 1865, pp. 7-8)

The last days of November, and everything so green!
A finer bit of country my eyes have never seen.
'T will be a thing to tell of, ten years or twenty hence,
How I came down to Georgia at Uncle Sam's expense.

Four years ago this winter, up at the district school,
I wrote all day, and ciphered, perched on a white-pine stool;
And studied in my atlas the boundaries of the States,
And learn the wars with England, the history and the dates.

Then little I expected to travel in such haste
Along the lines my fingers and fancy often traced,
To bear a soldier's knapsack, and face the cannon's mouth,
And help to save for Freedom the lovely, perjured South.

That red, old-fashioned school-house! what winds came sweeping through
Its doors from bald Monadnock, and from the mountains blue
That slope off south and eastward beyond the Merrimack!
O pleasant Northern river, your music calls me back

To where the pines are humming the slow notes of their psalm
Around a shady farm-house, half hid within their calm,
Reflecting in the river a picture not so bright
As these verandahed mansions,--but yet my heart's delight.

They 're sitting at the table this clear Thanksgiving noon;
I smell the crispy turkey, the pies will come in soon,--
The golden squares of pumpkin, the flaky rounds of mince,
Behind the barberry syrups, the cranberry and the quince.

Be sure my mouth does water,--but then I am content
To stay and do the errand on which I have been sent.
A soldier must n't grumble at salt beef and hard-tack:
We 'll have a grand Thanksgiving if ever we get back!

I 'm very sure they 'll miss me at dinner-time to-day,
For I was good at stowing their provender away.
When mother clears the table, and wipes the platters bright,
She 'll say, "I hope my baby don't lose his appetite!"

But oh! the after-dinner! I miss that most of all,--
The shooting at the targets, the jolly game of ball,
And then the long wood-ramble! We climbed, and slid, and ran,--
We and the neighbor-children,--and one was Mary Ann,

Who (as I did n't mention) sat next to me at school;:
Sometimes I had to show her the way to work the rule
Of Ratio and Proportion, and do upon her slate
Those long, hard sums that puzzle a merry maiden's pate.

I wonder if they 're going across the hills to-day;
And up the cliffs I wonder what boy will lead the way;
And if they 'll gather fern-leaves and checkerberries red,
And who will put a garland of ground-pine on her head.

O dear! the air grows sultry: I 'd wish myself at home
Were it a whit less noble, the cause for which I 've come.
Four years ago a school-boy; as foolish now as then!
But greatly they don't differ, I fancy,--boys and men.

I 'm just nineteen to-morrow, and I shall surely stay
For Freedom's final battle, be it until I 'm gray,
Unless a Southern bullet should take me off my feet.--
There 's nothing left to live for, if Rebeldom should beat;

For home and love and honor and freedom are at stake,
And life may well be given for our dear Union's sake;
So reads the Proclamation, and so the sermon ran;
Do ministers and people feel it as soldiers can?

When will it all be ended? 'T is not in youth to hold
In quietness and patience, like people grave and old:
A year? three? four? or seven?--O then, when I return,
Put on a big log, mother, and let it blaze and burn,

And roast your fattest turkey, bake all the pies you can,
And, if she is n't married, invite in Mary Ann!
Hang flags from every window! we 'll all be glad and gay,
For Peace will light the country on that Thanksgiving Day.

Visit, Board, Search and Seizure teams assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan crash through the waves aboard a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat while conducting training in the Arabian Gulf, Nov. 21, 2006. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer Patrick W. Mullen III

I am Thankful for...

The Army...

by Spc. Mike Pryor
November 1, 2006
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division practice battle tactics at Range 42 in Fort Bragg, N.C.
US Army photo

The Navy...

Ali Al Salem, Kuwait (Nov. 22, 2006) - Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) The Honorable Dr. Donald C. Winter wishes Sailors and Marines stationed at Camp Moreell a Happy Thanksgiving and gives thanks for their service during his visit to Ali Al Salem, Kuwait. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund

The Air Force...

Purple Ceremony - Staff Sgt. Rory Sturm and Airman Kevin Perez Glazer were presented Purple Hearts at a ceremony Nov. 14 at Camp Bucca, Iraq, for wounds received when their patrol Humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device Oct. 16. Both Airmen are deployed to the 586th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron area security operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Jeff Clark)

The Marines...

MUDIQ, Iraq - Marines of Jump Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment patrol down a sandy path near Mudiq, Iraq Nov. 8. The group was there to keep insurgent material out of the area with vehicle checkpoints. All Marines serve under Regiment Combat Team 5 and will be conducting operations for the next several months.Photo submitted 11/20/2006 Taken by Cpl. Ray Lewis

The Coast Guard...

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Nov. 11, 2006)--The U.S. CGC BERTHOLF was christened on Nov. 11, 2006 in Pascagoula , Mississippi . Captain Patrick Stadt, the ship’s first commanding officer, attended the Veterans Day ceremony with representatives from the first crew. BERTHOLF, the first national security cutter, is the first Coast Guard high endurance cutter to be built in more than 35 years. USCG photo by PA2 Brian Leshak


I am thankful that I live in a free country, where I am guaranteed the freedom to speak my mind, and to worship as I choose. I am thankful for those who came before me, who worked to ensure that my generation would reap the rewards of their efforts. I am thankful for a husband who supports anything I do, my soulmate. I am thankful for family and friends.

I am thankful for a hand injury that reminds me of how fortunate I really am, and of how important it is to support those who have been injured in derfense of their country.

I am thankful for Patti, Sara, Linda, Eileen, Elaine, and all the Soldiers' Angels. I am thankful for the SOS: KIDS and Operation Outreach Teams, who support our troops and those important to them. I am thankful for those who read this blog, and who stand tall to support our Heroes in harm's way.

I am thankful for little girls like Brittany, who show that doing the right thing is not a matter of age, it is a matter of character. I am thankful for Dawn and Michael, who show that no matter the challenge, love can endure.

I am thankful for Christian, and Henry, and the Mikes, for Clif, Phil, and Todd, for Janette, Omar, and Bill. I am thankful for Kyle, who turned a simple airport delay into an opportunity to speak with a Hero. I am thankful for all who work to ensure our freedoms, and who would give their lives to ensure that I can live mine, safe and free. I am thankful for military families, who sacrifice and keep the home fires burning for those who serve.

Today, I am thankful for Heroes.

Gainesville, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2006) - Two T-45C Goshawk jets from Training Air Wing One (TW-1) prepare to perform flyover maneuvers for football fans at Gator Stadium prior to the start of the University of Florida Gators match up against the visiting Western Carolina Catamounts. TW-1, consisting of pilots and student aviators from Training Squadron Seven (VT-7) and Training Squadron Nine (VT-9), performs flyovers for university games three to four times a season for various schools around the country. U.S. Navy photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Straessle

A Marine Corps Thanksgiving

From Seamus:

To all Marines, FMF Corpsman, Family Members & Friends of the Corps.

On this Thanksgiving, while Marines and other service members are deployed in harm's way, I would like to share excerpts from an email sent by a deployed Lance Corporal last Thanksgiving which both celebrates the occasion and shows once again why Marines are the best!:

I, as most would have thought, was expecting a very homesick Thanksgiving. But, although I wish I could have been home, my Thanksgiving was filled with motivation and inspiration. As we returned to base and our convoy approached the first gate to Camp Fallujah I was in shock because a Marine Corps Major was standing post, along with a First Sergeant. I reported to the Major what convoy we were and how many packs we were carrying. He told me to proceed, and to have a Happy Thanksgiving. As we came to the second gate, a Marine Captain and Sergeant Major were standing that post. There was not a PFC or LCpl to be found. None of the posts had young Marines at them; officers and Staff NCOs manned them all. The command had decided the young Marines were going to have the night off to get some rest and good chow. It was unbelievable, and a wonderful sight. The leadership had taken care of the younger Marines. This filled me with a tremendous pride I can't describe with words. I am so honored to be a part of an organization like the Corps.

When I went to Thanksgiving chow, the I MEF Commanding General and Sergeant Major were serving chow. The amazing part was they were so enthusiastic about it. Everyone was in a great mood, and ready to take on anything. It makes you think that if a three-star general in the United States Marine Corps can serve turkey to a bunch of 18-20 year old Lance Corporals, then you can suck up whatever you have to do. So, as I went to bed, I felt very thankful and indeed blessed for a great life. Tomorrow, I am sure, will be full of fighting and disaster, along with the added stress of little sleep and cold days and even colder nights. But tonight it's Thanksgiving, and everything is okay.

One Motivated Lance Corporal,

The author of this letter was Lance Corporal Jessica Kane from 4th CAG HQ S-6

More stories in
EVERY DAY IS A HOLIDAY, EVERY MEAL IS A FEAST: A Fourth Book of Marine Corps Sea Stories and Politically Incorrect Common Sense

November 7, 2006
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 107th Cavalry Regiment, clear a room during urban warfare training at Camp Buerhring, Kuwait. US Army photo

In Today's News - Thursday, November 23, 2006

Quote of the Day
"No one can defeat us unless we first defeat ourselves."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

News of Note
Happy Thanksgiving!
Weather Hampers Holiday Travelers - PHOTO ESSAY

Operation Iraqi Freedom
Report: Iraqi PM to Meet With Insurgent Leaders
New Commandant Says Stress on Marine Corps Increasing
Bush, Iraqi Prime Minister to Meet in Jordan, Talk Security

Mid-East Ceasefire / Hamas Rising / Israel at War
U.N. to help Lebanon investigate Gemayel murder - Video

Science / Nature
Russian cosmonaut hits golf ball into orbit
Scientists flick switch on giant telescope

Other News of Note
Drug "submarine" off Costa Rica was disguised boat

Fox News
Serial Killer Fears Hit Atlantic City
Genetic Breakthrough Reveals Human Differences

Reuters: Top News
Jury finds Arizona rancher responsible in vigilante trial
Argentina confirms theft of Bush daughter's purse
Texas Catholic diocese settles with abuse victims
Death toll in Polish mine disaster rises to 21
Microsoft says Office unfazed by Google threat
Satellite, cable fight for U.S. customers in stores
O.J. says advance spent as book removed from eBay
Asian shares gain as Dell earnings boost techs
Demand seen boosting Armor Holdings: magazine
Platinum steady after dip, gold firm in quiet trade
Oil steady after slide on big U.S. crude stockbuild
Dollar mired near lows in quiet holiday trade
Verizon hike casts doubt on price war
Airlines rally, but customer service falls
Sentiment data spurs retail worries
Goldman Sachs to buy into China Midea -official paper
Stores set flat-panel TV blitz for holiday weekend

AP World News
Moderate gas prices boost holiday travel
Gusty wind threatens Macy's balloons
Richards apologizes, hires crisis expert
Scientists try to make robots more human
Tiger wins 7th straight PGA Grand Slam
Army Signs More Dropouts
Energy Efficiency Key to New Weapons
Op-ed: Backsliding in Ukraine
Blog: Elbow Grease in Mid East
Def Tech: Nuke Bazookas and more!
Kit Up! Takes Off With Cool Gear
Thanksgiving: Pressure on Milspouses?
Beat the Mall Crowds this Friday
Gear in the News: FFG7

CENTCOM: News Releases







Exercise preps 82nd Airborne Division staff for Afghanistan deployment
Milestone reached in development of Cross Domain Collaborative Information Environment - podcast
Liveblogging: Unified Endeavor 07-1
Omni Fusion ties Army into UR 2015 - podcast

Department of Defense
Iraqi Forces Target Suspect in U.S. Soldier's Disappearance - Story
For Top News Visit DefenseLink

Preparation Key to Turkey Day in Iraq - Story
Army’s BOLT Helps Secure Iraqis Future - Story
New Iraq-Zakros Primary School to Open in Kirkuk - Story
Musical Marine Helps Lift Morale of Wounded - Story

Marines Stop Insurgents With Vehicle Checkpoints
Transition Teams Teach and Mentor Iraqi Soldiers
Border Transition Teams Secure Relationships
New Iraqi Commander Instills Discipline, Order

Aircraft Continue Missions Over Afghanistan
Engineers Dodge Explosives to Provide Services
Afghan Officer Saves Governor, Coalition Soldiers

Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF) Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Update

Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Officials Identify Marine Casualty - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
- The people of Frederick County, MD refuse to pay England's Stamp tax.
1832 - The French take Antwerp in liberation of Belgium.
1835 - Henry Burden patents a horseshoe manufacturing machine in Troy, NY.
1852 - Just past midnight, a sharp jolt causes Lake Merced to drop 30'.
1863 - The Battle of Chattanooga begins.
1936 - The first issue of Life magazine is created by Henry R. Luce.
1942 - The Coast Guard Woman's Auxiliary (SPARS) is authorized.
1943 - U.S. forces seize control of Tarawa and Makin from the Japanese.
1948 - F.G. Back patents a Lens to provide zoom effects.
1955 - The British transfer Cocos (Keeling) Island (in the Indian Ocean) to Australia.
1960 - The weather satellite Tiros-2 is launched.
1963 - JFK's body lays in repose in the East Room of the White House.
1971 - The People's Republic of China is seated in the U.N. Security Council.
1977 - The European weather satellite Meteosa-1 is launched from Cape Canaveral.
1980 - 4,800 die in a series of earthquakes that devastated southern Italy.
1985 - 58 die as Egyptian commandos storm a hijacked Egyptair jet in Malta; retired CIA analyst Larry Wu-tai Chin is arrested on charges of spying for China.

0912 - Otto I (the Great), German king, Holy Roman emperor (962-73)
1221 - Alfonso X (the Wise) king of Castile and Leon (1252)
1749 - Edward Rutledge (Gov-SC), signer of the Declaration of Independence
1804 - Franklin Pierce, 14th U.S. President (1853-1857)
1859 - Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney), criminal
1860 - Karl Branting, Swedish statesman/diplomat, Nobel Prize winner (1921)
1930 - William E. Brock, Senator / U.S. Secretary of Labor (1985-87)
1935 - Vladislav N. Volkov, cosmonaut (Soyuz-7, 11)

- Elbrige Gerry, VP (of Gerrymander fame)
1991 - Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, of AIDS

Reported Missing in Action
Cuthbert, Bradley G., USAF (IA); RF4C shot down (pilot, w/Ruhling), remains returned, ID'd December, 1991
Ruhling, Mark J., USAF (PA); RF4C shot down (backseater to Cuthbert), released by DRV March, 1973 - retired as a Lt. Colonel - alive as of 1998

Jones, Grayland, US Army (IN); disappeared while swimming, Killed, body not recovered

Altus, Robert W., USAF (OR); F4E crashed while on mission (pilot, w/Phelps)

Phelps, William, USAF (NY); F4E crashed while on mission (weapons/systems operator, w/Altus)