To the Soldiers, Airmen, and Families of the National Guard
There are as many ways to celebrate Thanksgiving as there are Americans celebrating it. No matter what’s on the table—turkey or tofu, mashed potatoes or candied yams, your aunt’s famous mac and cheese or your cousin’s famous tamales—the heart of the celebration remains the same: We reflect on all we have, all we have done, and all we hope for each other. For one day, we are united in gratitude for the blessings in our lives.
However, many of us know what it’s like to spend Thanksgiving far from the family table. Whether we’re deployed overseas eating off a tray with plastic forks, working frontline jobs that never take a holiday, or are simply separated from the people we care about most by an insurmountable distance, our thanks are mixed with a longing for home.
That’s why it’s no coincidence that November is National Veterans and Military Families Month—because above all, we are thankful for our freedom and for the people in our lives. Military families are unique. We have tested love’s ability to endure distance, time, and trauma. We have blended romance and resilience, involvement and absence, constant change and undying devotion. And we have seen the power of the family we choose—brothers and sisters not bound by blood, but by a connection and commitment that grows stronger with each year.
We give thanks for our military families—our spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, extended family, and the friends we hold closest. We say a prayer for the surviving families of the fallen, and rededicate ourselves to ensuring they always feel welcome in our family of arms. We reach out to those who are celebrating Thanksgiving a town, a time zone, or a continent away from the ones they love. No matter who, where, or how you celebrate, together we have many reasons to give thanks.
Thank you for serving our National Guard, and thank you to the families who love and support us. We wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. We are honored and thankful to be “Always Ready, Always There.”
Daniel R. Hokanson
General, U.S. Army
Chief, National Guard Bureau
Tony L. Whitehead
SEA, U.S. Air Force
National Guard Bureau