Military Families
Appreciation Week
November 22-28, 2007

U.S Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Keith L. Darby

In a fitting tribute to kick off National Military Families Appreciation Week, children of deployed Navy sailors marched at the head of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, along with NBC weather anchor Al Roker, Robin Hall, executive producer of the Macy's Parade, and Chris Meier, Macy's Vice President of Human Resources. The children led this year's 81st anniversary holiday event and were cheered on by millions of supportive spectators from New York and around the country.

On this extended Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, we hope that you have much to be thankful for. Among our many blessings, we can count the good fortune to have been born in this great nation, where we enjoy freedoms that we sometimes take for granted, freedoms that many in the world long for, and for whom many died so that we might have them.

As we pause to reflect on our blessings, let us remember to express our thanks for those who were willing to give, and those who have given, their lives that we might enjoy our own, and for their families, who have endured tragic loss and grief.

One of those freedoms made possible by their sacrifices is that to freely express our thoughts and opinions, as we do on these pages and elsewhere. Let us not forget that it is only because of the sacrifices of those brave men and women that our freedom to do so is preserved.

Let us remember that there are millions of men and women living in oppressive societies around the world, where they do not enjoy the personal freedoms we have in America. They must go into hiding to engage in their religious practices, they are denied the ability to go to school and earn an education, they must cover themselves and "disappear" despite the fact that they represent half the population, they have no opportunity to engage in an occupation of their choosing because there are no jobs for them to choose.

So let us remember to be grateful that we continue to have brave and heroic men and women who believe in something greater than themselves, and who are willing to volunteer their very lives if necessary, to protect and preserve the American way of life for their families, and for the rest of us. Let us remember that our way of life was won through the blood of men and women just like them, and that if it is to be preserved, it may be at the cost of even more lives lost.

"If the only prayer you say
in your life is
Thank You,
that would suffice."
Meister Eckhart

Let us be grateful that they have understanding and supportive families, who also understand the value and importance of their service, and who stand behind them and beside them through all their struggles and sacrifices, and deployments.

We have much to be thankful for in this nation, and we must remember that without the sacrifices of these men and women, we would not enjoy the many freedoms we have today.

So please, make it a point, especially during this Military Families Appreciation Week, to thank a vet, or a current military member, and more specifically, to thank their families for supporting and encouraging them to be the heroes they are, and for enduring the hardships that are a normal part of military life.

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