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Family Matters Blog: Blogger Shares Families’ Thanksgiving Messages

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2010 – Every year on Thanksgiving, just before diving into a delectable family feast, my family and I take turns expressing our gratitude for the year’s blessings while seated around the dining room table.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Ariana and Angelo Scarpulla pose with their “daddy dolls” to keep their father, Army Sgt. 1st Class Wayne Scarpulla, close at hand over the holidays. Scarpulla is on his fifth deployment in a dozen years. Courtesy photo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

I’d like to share mine a day early.

While I always feel grateful for my family and friends, this year I’m especially thankful for our troops and their families. I’m thankful there are brave men and women out there willing to put their lives on the line so I can enjoy a Thanksgiving at home. And I’m thankful for their families, who are willing to hold down the home front while their loved ones are gone for months or a year at a time.

It can’t be easy after a decade of war and multiple deployments under their collective belts, especially with the holiday season at hand.

I had the honor of speaking with just a few of these families the other day to find out how they’re coping with the holiday-time separation.

Two couples were on their fifth deployment; for one couple, it was their fifth in a dozen years. And I heard from a soldier whose thoughts were more on his wife than the holiday. She was due to give birth to their second child the day after Thanksgiving.

Each couple expressed their sadness at being apart, but all also spoke of their pride and patriotism of being able to serve a cause greater than themselves. It was both humbling and touching to hear. I wrote about these families in two American Forces Press Service articles: Please add links

I also asked them to write a Thanksgiving Day message to each other, and I’d like to share their responses:

“I just want to tell everyone that I love them all and miss them more than they could ever imagine,” Army Capt. Todd Tomkins, who is deployed in Afghanistan, said, “I hope they enjoy a great Thanksgiving and know that I am thinking of them every moment.”

His wife, Annette’s, response: “May you always know that you are loved and missed dearly. We will cherish memories of you on this day as we do each day that you are away. Taylor and Todd are proud that their daddy is a hero protecting their freedom. Daddy, thank you, we love you, and cannot wait to see you in January.”

Army Sgt. 1st Class Wayne Scarpulla has this message from his forward operating base in Afghanistan: “To my family, I love you as I always do. I miss you more today than I did yesterday. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for being you!

His wife’s response was “Italy,” which, for the couple, stands for “I trust and love you,” she told me. “Just Italy,” she said.

Army Spc. Seth Oldre, also deployed in Afghanistan, wrote this message to his pregnant wife, daughter and unborn son: “I just want [my wife] to know that I am here for her and our kids for the rest of our lives, and we can make it through this holiday. Just be strong honey! And for my daughter Hayden, I want to say Daddy will be home soon. I love you so much and I miss you hay hay.

“Last, but definitely not least, my son Milo. I want to say welcome to this crazy, amazing, hectic, unbelievable, wonderful world and daddy can't wait to meet you, and I love you more than you will ever know. Daddy will be home soon!

I don’t have a message from Oldre’s wife. She went into labor Nov. 22 and gave birth to a healthy, 8-pound baby boy, Milo Gary Oldre.

Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama made a special effort in her Thanksgiving message this year to remind us all that it’s important to be thankful to servicemembers and their families “who risk everything so that we can be safe and free.”

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our servicemembers and their families from Family Matters Blog!

To comment on this blog, or read other posts, visit the Family Matters website.

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