Looking back on USMC thanksgivings, reminding us of things for which we should be grateful

“Fabius Maximus”:

Summary: a guest post by Beth Crumley, a Marine Corp retrospective about Thanksgivings past. This reminds of how much we have to be grateful before, and the price paid for our liberty and prosperity. Reposted with permission from the Marine Corps Association website.

I love this time of year. I love walking outside on a crisp, autumn morning and hearing the leaves crunch under my feet, and the smell of a wood fire in the air. It’s a reflective time…a time to take stock of what’s important in our lives. This weekend I was happily engaged in some pre-Thanksgiving tasks. I put a large pot of poultry stock on to cook, made pastry dough and even roasted off some pumpkins for pie. Later, while sitting at my desk, I looked at the calendar and realized that 68 years ago the battle for Tarawa raged. I started to think about those who have served, and those who serve today, and how difficult it must be to be separated from family and friends on the holidays we hold most dear.

The Marine Corps has long taken particular care to ensure that those who cannot be with their families still celebrate Thanksgiving. In times of war, that has proven challenging.

On 26 November 1942, Thanksgiving Day, Marines were battling the Japanese on Guadalcanal. The diary of one veteran noted, “Thanksgiving…air raid siren at 3:30 A.M….very little sleep.” A history of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines noted: