Yesterday was one of the more rewarding days I’ve had. Along with my girlfriend and parents, we joined about 1000 people surprising a few hundred troops from the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst with a Thanksgiving dinner. This was the 9th annual Feed the Troops Thanksgiving Day celebration, sponsored by Jewish War Veterans Post 126 and the Spevak family.
The troops had no idea where they were heading when they boarded the 4 buses on base. They were unable to go home for the holidays because they are about to deploy to Afghanistan.
As they arrived, the buses of troops were escorted by Police, Fire and Veterans on motorcycles and pulled up to a welcome of music playing, flags waving and turkey waiting. The troops walked through lines of people on each side of the path from the bus to the room where the dinner was held as those in attendance shook their hands, gave them signs, handed them food and thanked them for their service. Many of the troops had cameras of their own to take pictures of what they were experiencing.
You can read about some of the coverage of the event in this Courier Post article.
As if honoring the troops wasn’t enough, the commander of Post 126 in Cherry Hill and a veteran of World War II was finally awarded the Bronze Star that he said he didn’t receive at the time because he was in too much of a hurry to get home. It was over 65 years ago that he landed on the beaches of Normandy and helped liberate Dachau, a concentration camp in Germany that my Grandfather was held in for a time.
At dinner last night, my mom couldn’t stop talking with her friends about how moving the experience was. She turned into the unofficial hugger for some of the troops who were overcome by the emotion of the day. This son couldn’t have been more proud of his mom.
The most amazing part of the day for me was the selflessnesses of the troops, who wanted to thank me for volunteering when i was really there to thank them for serving. To me, it was the least I could do on this day of giving thanks for people who do so much for everyone else.
Below the fold, i’ll put the video that I took as the buses of troops arrived and were greeted by hundreds of people cheering, waving flags and ready to say thank you.