On this Thanksgiving I’m thinking of my brother Jack a world away in Afghanistan. And with any luck, some time between coming in from one patrol and preparing for the next, he’ll be thinking of us.
Today my family will join thousands of families across the country as we raise our glasses to toast our loved one’s sense of duty. The tradition is one that extends not praise for a job well done (the war is far from over), nor sympathy for a job not worth doing (we chose the path we chose) but respect and love. Respect for the courage to fight when asked to fight and love for the spirit we see grow within them.
In a life too often filled with living we forget it’s the small, simple things that make us most happy. We forget how important things like a cold beer, laughter, bad sweaters, a football game, warm food, and old stories are. But not Jack. Right now whether he’s cleaning the bolt of his rifle sharing a coffee and a laugh with his fellow men or on patrol scanning a valley through his optics, life is at its most simple and complete. He has the love of his family, the admiration of his country, the respect of his fellow infantrymen and a great adventure he will never for the rest of his years on earth forget. Today he remembered those bad sweaters, bad stories, bad football games, and bad hangovers and he smiled because they weren’t bad things at all. They were simple things. And perfect.
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- On Midrats 19 April 2015 – Episode 276: “21st Century Ellis”