Wednesday, February 26, 2014

An ARMY Thanksgiving (Scott Hawley)

Many of you know that my brother Scott suffered a hear attack less than five days ago. Since then he has undergone a successful six bypass open heart surgery. Scott wrote this for me five years ago on November 28, 2009. Thanks for the prayers for Scott and his family!

{My entry tonight was written by my brother, Scott, and inspired by my nephew, Seth. In the top picture, Seth is shown in October with his (and Lauren's!) newborn, Noah, and Seth's lovely mother, Karen. In the second photo, Seth is shown doing his duty in Afghanistan.}

It's the day after Thanksgiving and my son, Seth, just called me from Afghanistan. This is his favorite holiday so I told him about all of the folks that came over and all of the great food that Mom had made and all of the great fun that we had. I also told him how much we missed him and were thinking of him. So then I asked him how his Thanksgiving had gone at his base in Afghanistan. He said,
''Well Dad, you have to understand how things are done in the Army.''
They were awakened at 5:00 A.M and told,
''Happy Thanksgiving! It's time to clean the latrines.''
All day long, they looked forward to the little celebration when they will get to eat a bit of different food and have some small celebration of the day.

When it came time for the dinner, though, Seth's platoon got a Thanksgiving mission. They were ordered to go to another F.O.B. (forward operating base) to pick up a piece of equipment. He lamented that it could have been done on any other day. They dressed in full battle gear, mounted their vehicles, and made their way to the other base to pick up the equipment. After some time, they made their way back to their own base. By the time they got back, all that was left from the celebration was a few scraps and some turkey place mats. So, they made themselves a Thanksgiving sandwich and all went outside in the night air to eat by their vehicle. Someone ruefully said,
''Well, Happy Thanksgiving guys!''
They were silent for awhile and then they started telling what everyone in their families did for Thanksgiving. Seth spoke up and said that when he was young and our family would travel to St. Louis for the holiday, his grandmother, Nelda Hawley, would say,
''Now let's all go around the table and say something that we are thankful for.''
I remember how our kids would roll their eyes at this. But now, I smile to think that Seth is saying it to a bunch of soldiers in Afghanistan. After he said this someone said,
''I'm thankful that we didn't get blown up in that rocket attack the other day!'' They all shook their heads, because it had been a very close call and not one of their platoon had taken any shrapnel. Then, Seth said that the mood turned serious and they all went around and said how thankful they were for their families, the support that they get from home, the fact that their vehicle hadn't broken down on this mission, and just that they had survived another day. One thing that he said really hit me. He said,
''You know, I don't mind having to go through all this as long as I know that there are millions of people back home that can just enjoy a Thanksgiving in safety and peace.''
I get a couple of things from all of this. First, don't tell me that family traditions aren't important. My mom was honored over in Afghanistan today and made life a little more bearable for a few soldiers. Secondly, it's so important to a soldier's morale to know that he/she is appreciated. They are brave beyond belief. Thirdly, I don't think that I have ever been more proud of my son. I ask you to pray for Seth and the others. Pray for their safety and their courage and that they all will be able to come home soon. Thanks!

God bless,
Uncle Steve
Luke 18:1
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Kim said...

Steve, thanks so much for sharing this personal story with your readers. I have happened on your blog by chance, after seeing a post on a friends FB page. I remember Seth as a beautiful young boy during all of our days @Maple Hill. It thrills me to know that he has grown into a fine Christan son, solider, husband & now a father. His story to Scott has touched me deeply and has definitely made me more aware of how thankful we should be each & every day. I pray he has a safe & blessed deployment while serving our country. Thanks again for sharing!

Laurie said...

Excellent reminder of what is important in life. Family & freedom.