Thanksgiving, or any holiday spent overseas,especially if in a combat zone, is an especially poignant one. On these occasions the bonds between military men and women become especially strong because the absence of our families reinforces the sacrifice that we are all making. During these times the people around you become family because they are all you have, an inadequate but necessary substitute to making the daily journey to the end of your tour. I did not necessarily like all these people but they were my substitute family.
Now that I am home with my family during the holidays I feel a new and special poignancy for the service men and women overseas, many of whom are in harm's way. Somehow, though I don't even know them, I have a bond with them, too. When I give thanks for the many blessings that I have, I say a prayer that they all may return home safe.
Holidays were an unusual hardship when I was in Iraq. Like leftover grains of sand in my pocket, I carry little pieces of that hardship with me with during holidays at home. I remember. Or maybe I just can't forget.