Giving Thanks Part 1: Showing gratitude to our military

I recently read a heartbreaking article about a military family who was flying to pick up the remains of their dead son. The soldier, along with three others serving in our armed forces, sacrificed his life in Afghanistan while stopping a suicide bomber, and as a result, saved more than 100 people.

Sergeant John Perry, age 30, was a heroic soldier who had previously been awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, and this was his second tour of duty in Operating Enduring Freedom.

According to the article, written by Deirdre Reilly and featured on lifezette.com, “A Stockton, California, man and his family were exiting a flight on their way to retrieve their son’s body after he was killed in Afghanistan. In a shameful example of entitlement and self-absorption, passengers in first class booed the family as they passed through the pricey cabin. Why? Because the pampered few might miss their next flight if the grieving family de-planed first — something the crew requested.”

It’s crushing to think that people were more worried about swiftly getting off the plane instead of taking a moment to show respect to a grieving military family who had sacrificed their own son in order to protect our freedoms in this country.

Perhaps the story hits closer to home for me right now as my cousin Emily has been called to serve in her third tour of duty and will be activated and sent overseas before the end of 2016. I’m so proud and grateful of her service to our country, and I have such respect for those who are willing to lay it all on the line in order to preserve and defend our great nation.

This Thanksgiving, as we enjoy the fellowship of our friends and family around the dinner table, let’s keep our military men and women in our hearts and minds. To those in our armed forces who will spend Thanksgiving halfway around the world, my prayers go out to you. To the families whose sons or daughters didn’t make it home, my heart breaks for you, and I thank you for your sacrifice. And to the wounded warriors who are battling through injuries and agonizing memories of war and destruction, I send hugs and my sincerest gratitude.

This holiday season, consider sending some well wishes to a veteran. Get your kids and grandkids involved to write letters to these heroic men and women. You can send Thanksgiving and Christmas greetings to:

A Recovering American Soldier
C.O. Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue
NW Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Also, consider donating to the All-American Beef Battalion. The organization hosts steak feeds for the troops, and since 2007, the organization has served more than 325,000 ribeyes to men and women serving our country.

Stay tuned for part two of my Giving Thanks blog series where I show my gratitude to rural Americans and the hard working people who provide food, fiber and fuel for the world.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.

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