Thanksgiving, Christmas and War
All three are an integral part of this time of year for a small fraction of American families. For some of the families it is the first time they have a loved one deployed to a combat zone during this precious time of year. For some it is the second, third, maybe even the fourth time they will give thanks on Thanksgiving and celebrate the Christmas season while their mother, father, daughter or son fights a war in a far away country. Some, though, will forever go through this season acutely remembering the loss of a loved one that gave their life fighting for our great nation. All of these families will have an empty seat at the table this year.
Our family will have an empty seat this year, again. This is the second Thanksgiving and Christmas we will spend with our son, Sean, deployed to a war zone. He serves on the frontline and works long hours with little time for a decent meal or warm shower. He called the other day and told me he was really cold. I just can not shake the image of him being cold. It does not matter how old your child is they forever remain your child. A military mom once said to me that the world sees a man in a uniform when they see your son and you see your son in a Little League uniform – they see the man, you see the boy. Our boy is cold and eating MRE’s while we, in America, will be heating up our homes with the warmth of the oven as we cook our turkeys and prepare to shop for Christmas bargains.
We think of him all of the time. At night, when we should be resting our minds imagine what life is like for him over there. Our worries are deep and difficult to share with people who have not traveled this journey. This time of year his absence is a deep void in our lives. Though we miss him terribly we are thankful. Thankful we have been blessed with a son who embraces the life he has chosen in service to his country.
Our hope for this season is that all Americans, in some way, will reach out to the families who are serving on the home front and will have an empty seat at their table. Reach out to families who have lost a loved one on the frontline. Take some time and let them share their hero with you.
First published in November 22, 2008
*Our son, SFC Sean Ward, has his boots on the ground, in America, this year. He will occupy a seat at the table, however, there are thousands who are deployed all across the globe and there are thousands who will have empty seats forever. We are grateful to all who served, to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and their loved ones.