On certain days, I can be a smidgen slow on the uptake. Perhaps that is why it has taken me so long to recognize the genius behind scheduling Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day in the same month.
Many of the blessings for which we are thankful have been made possible through the courage of those fighting in battles past and present. For instance, we can offer prayers of gratitude in whatever house of worship we choose. We can express our opinions openly at the dinner table or standing in line at the grocery store or at political rallies without fear of recrimination or unlawful imprisonment. We can trust that the votes we cast earlier in the month actually do matter and are not moot efforts in the mock elections of a despotic government. We can watch our children grow to optimize the glorious potential that lies inside. We can travel freely to spend the holiday with friends and loved ones across the country and around the globe. For all of this and so much more, we should be especially thankful for our veterans, our active military and those serving in the reserves.
Not to be overlooked are the families of our brave troops. Their sacrifices can be heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. The wait for the safe return of a husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, can be agonizing.
Fortunately, our community offers a vast array of opportunities for expressing our appreciation. The Fort Wayne chapter of Blue Star Mothers, named for the Service or Blue Star Flag on which each blue star represents a service member in active duty, will be sending packages to soldiers stationed overseas and veterans recovering from addiction at The Shepherd’s House. Various food banks are providing holiday meals to military families in need, and churches and businesses will be ensuring these same families have a merry holiday season. They all would welcome your gracious support.
If time is tight, families can multitask by simply creating or signing holiday cards during their Thanksgiving celebration. Guests should be invited to join in as a gentle reminder of why we have so many reasons to be grateful. Little ones should not be overlooked. While we adults can wax eloquent and inspiring, children seem to inherently know the direct line to a soldier’s heart. Cards can be delivered to the Red Cross or other organizations preparing care packages. These touching messages will lift many hearts and undoubtedly be read over and over.
This Thanksgiving, I will proudly count among my many blessings the valiance of our veterans, the strength of our soldiers serving stateside and abroad, the resilience of our reserves and National Guard, and the fortitude of the families who provide a wealth of love and support.
For giving so heroically, I will offer my heartfelt thanks.
LISA M. FABIAN
Project READS parent program manager
Allen County Education Partnership