FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Thanksgiving Day is a special time to pause and give thanks for what you have and to express your gratitude and appreciation to those people whom you hold dear. All of us have a tremendous amount for which to be thankful.

Here at Fort Jackson we can certainly be thankful for the great relationships, friendships and leadership we have on a day-to-day basis. We can also be thankful for the great services we have for our Service Members, Families and Civilians -- health care, housing, education, to name a few.

Those of us who have Iraq and Afghanistan deployments know that we should even be thankful for having electricity, clean water and food every day -- we take them for granted, but for many places in the world, those things are not promised day to day. Being that Fort Jackson is 95 years old, you can even see historical remnants that serve as evidence of the sacrifices made by our forefathers and comrades in arms in order to obtain and maintain our freedoms and the American way of life. Be thankful.

During the holiday, I encourage you to spend time with your loved ones. Our duties as Service Members often require us to sacrifice time away from our families and friends. Something that I learned a long time ago is that one of the most precious gifts of gratitude that you can ever pay someone is the gift of time -- quality time. Make quality time a priority this Thanksgiving. Be thankful.

As Americans, our country continues to be the model nation of the human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We embody freedom as we pride ourselves in the diversity of our citizens, the opportunities that exist for our young and old, and our democracy -- representative of the voice of our people. Be thankful.

Although most of us are able to take a momentary break on this day of thanks, there are still thousands of American Service Members who are separated from their Families -- some of whom are forward deployed. We must never forget the debt of service given by those currently serving in harm's way and their loved ones who bear the burden of separation. The reason we are able to rest is because someone is on the watch. Be thankful.

While you are enjoying your family and friends -- celebrating Thanksgiving according to your family's tradition -- traveling, eating the biggest meal of the year complete with turkey and all the fixings, eating homemade cakes and pies (once a year), watching the Thanksgiving parade or all day football -- do it safely! Make sound plans to get there safe, and do the right things to keep it safe. You're at home, not in harm's way. Be thankful.

During the Thanksgiving holiday season, Fort Jackson Leaders will have the honor of serving our Soldiers their Thanksgiving meal in the dining facility. This is a tremendous privilege and a great opportunity to say thanks and show how much we appreciate what they do. Be thankful.

Thanks for all you do for our mission, our Service Members, Families and Civilians. They are truly the centerpiece of Fort Jackson. Again, Happy Thanksgiving and don't forget ... be thankful!

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!

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