Marine thankful for many blessings

Published 12:13 am Friday, November 30, 2007

Well, here we are. Another Thanksgiving spent in the Marine Corps and far away from home. This Thanksgiving I was on QRF, which prevented me from making long holiday well wishing calls to the family and friends. So, take this message as my official Thanksgiving post.

On this Thanksgiving, I have many reasons to be a little resentful of my circumstances, but that would be a violation of the spirit of this American holiday spent in a foreign land. For when a group of religious separatists landed at Plymouth escaping persecution and oppression, they too had little be thankful for. They had been driven from their homeland and now faced the uncertainties of starting over in a foreign, undeveloped and for the most part hostile land.

They were met with a harsh winter, the prospect of starvation, sickness at every turn and all the trials and tribulations that come with beginning anew. However, through their faith in God, the strength they found in each other and the help of the locals, they survived and they gave thanks.

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In my case, I fled neither persecution nor oppression. I am not starting a new life in a strange land, because I have a perfectly sufficient and wonderful life back home waiting on me. I have come to a foreign land to prevent tyranny and oppression. Although we are taking part in a strange mission in an even stranger war, we still endeavor to secure the rights of the downtrodden and the oppressed. Granted, these people have been subjugated by foreign powers and their own for so long that they do not have a concept of freedom or liberty as we do in America. This does not mean they are not entitled to those basic rights which are laid bare in our Declaration of Independence. So, we endure.

We endure the infections, the food, the people, the dysentery and the distance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Yet, I am thankful. I am thankful for the Marines to the left and right of me who motivate me to keep going. I am thankful for those that are more than just Marines to me, but friends and even brothers. I am thankful for a bed to sleep in and a tent to cover my head. I am thankful for the chance to be able to keep in touch with home in ways that Marines of 30 years ago couldn’t have even imagined. I am thankful for a wonderful family who supports me and is proud of me. I could not justify this life without knowing I had their love and support, and I wouldn’t be able to go on if I did not know that I have made my mother and father proud to call me their son. I am thankful for my friends who have made the effort to keep in touch. They have been a true source of strength and motivation. Without the e-mails and letters I would surely have lost faith in our cause and myself. So to sum it all up, I thank God for putting me in a life where I can love, be loved and be in love.

While he has led me far away, I know he will carry me home. And I am thankful.

So as you carved the turkey, deviled the eggs, and redressed your plates with dressing, I hope you counted the blessings God has laid before you in your life. They are numerous. You are an American; we hold more blessings per capita in one life then a whole populace of a third world country.

Forget not what he has done for your, from Calvary to Natchez or Starkville. I am thinking of you and counting you all by name in my blessings this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I miss you and I love you all. Amen.

Corporal Charles POWERS is a U.S. Marine who wrote this letter last Thanksgiving while stationed in Djibouti, Africa. He is home now and is a student at Mississippi State University. He is the son of Ruth Powers.