By Maj. Gen. Donna Martin and Command Sgt. Maj. Henney Hodgkins
Nearly 400 years ago, a small band of pilgrims fled persecution and came to this land as refugees in search of opportunity and the freedom to practice their faith.
Though the journey was rough and their first winter harsh, the friendly indigenous people, the Wampanoag, helped the pilgrims learn to grow crops, which led to a successful harvest.
Without the Wampanoag people, the pilgrims would not have survived their first year in the new land. Together they celebrated this bounty with a festival that lasted for days and prompted the tradition of an annual day of giving thanks.
We now know this day as Thanksgiving, a day when we take time with family and friends to count our blessings and renew our commitment to giving back. We especially give thanks to all of our service members and their families who give of themselves to protect the values we cherish.
As we reflect on our rich history and the many blessings we have, I ask that you also take the time to remember our nation’s deployed service members who cannot share in this holiday with their families.
During Thanksgiving break, as you make your way to see your loved ones and friends, I ask that you remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Keep safety in mind to ensure we do not take for granted all that we have been blessed with.
You are all a vital part of this team, and I hope to see you return safely and after enjoying plenty of turkey.
As we gather in the company of our friends, families, and communities, just as the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag did centuries ago, let us give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others. Happy Thanksgiving.
Victory starts here…victory through skill.
(Editor’s note: Martin is the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. Hodgkins is the MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood interim command sergeant major.)