While many of us are gathering with our families today, let's not forget those who brave men and women serving our country around the world. Thanks to volunteers across the country, many service members are able to enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal today.
The Army is thanking the Military Order of the Purple Heart for donating hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to active duty soldiers and veterans, paid for with donations the group collected from the community.
Donald C. Winter, Secretary of the Navy is in Afghanistan today, personally thanking U.S. Marines, Sailors and Soldiers at Camp Taqaddum in Al Anbar for their sacrifice and service. Meanwhile, service members stateside are sorting through the generous donations of volunteers to help serve some turkey to service members stationed at bases across America.
Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton received some Thanksgiving treats courtesy of the Military Family Outreach of San Clemente, Calif. More than 300 military families received free turkeys and other food items for their Thanksgiving dinners. The donations were gathered from San Diego County churches, businesses and individuals and were passed out by Marines and children from local youth organizations.
The U.S. Coast Guard is giving thanks today for all those who support them throughout the year. "Our mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, daughters and sons are quite literally the inspiration for every man and woman who wears the uniform in service to our country and in defense of our freedoms," their website says. "It is the promise of their love and support after the days, weeks, and months of a deployment that makes the mission that much more special. ... On behalf of the entire Coast Guard, we thank the American public for their support of our missions and our people. Happy Thanksgiving!"
And airmen and women stationed at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan also got into the festive holiday spirit with a bunch of turkeys -- that is, all-terrain vehicles decorated as "combat turkeys" -- in a special Thanksgiving Day parade at Camp Cunningham, where the majority of airmen stationed at Bagram live and work. "Everyone had a lot of fun and we had more people than we expected participate," recreation manager Travis Luethe said. "Basically, we just wanted to give everyone a little taste of home for the holiday. Looking around at all the smiles, you can see that for ten minutes, we all got to think about something other than being in a war zone."
President Barack Obama phoned 10 members of the armed services stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan Thursday to wish them a happy Thanksgiving. The White House says Obama thanked two each from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy for their service.