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Thankful for Those Who Keep Us Free

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American soldier mount the U.S. flag on a vehicle near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad) -- Military.com

It’s easy to choose anxiety or sadness or disappointment when the personal price of military service becomes clear. And yet I choose gratefulness. Not because it’s the right thing to do. Not because I don’t have a choice.

But because I want to.

I am overwhelmed this year with the number of things I have for which to be thankful – even things that in the past have seemed to be the opposite of a blessing. The true price of military sacrifice has come home to roost in our family over the last year. I thought at one time the burdens of war would leave no lingering problems. I was wrong.

It’s one thing to say “yes, we gladly serve!” It’s another to say “yes, we gladly serve – and we have experienced the price, but we keep going anyway.”

When I think about Thanksgiving I think about a time to pause to remember my blessings.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the Thanksgiving feast, or the avalanche of holiday season activities that starts as soon as the frozen turkey moves into our refrigerator.

But I am not going to do that. Instead:

I choose it because my family and I have all of our basic needs more than met.

I choose it because my service member, and thousands like him, protect our nation and do whatever she asks of them despite the huge personal costs.

I choose it because I am surrounded by people who know the meaning of sacrifice and keep doing it anyway.

I choose it because the warmth and positivity of gratitude holds and comforts me even when the burden of being a military family seems far too heavy to carry any longer.

I choose it because I live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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