Thanksgiving of 1969 in Viet Nam is one I'll always remember.  We were out in
the jungle with our tanks, ACavs, and hogs, like usual.  This had certain
benefits, such as not having to walk everywhere like the grunts did.  Also we
carried a lot of stuff besides ammo. Like cases of C rations and five gallon
cans of water.  Everyone got tired of Cs but we carried them by the case so
there was a lot to choose from to help relieve the monotony.  So we ate very
well compared to the grunts.  We even had hot food for breakfast when we sat
still long enough for the cook to get set up.

Thanksgiving of '69 was special.  It went like this: being the Chaplain, I
got around the whole area pretty well.  I had picked up some information that
we were going to have a real feast for Thanksgiving.  That is, a feast out of
mermite cans (insulated containers, for you civilians out there) in the
field, but a real feast, just the same.  The troops, being skeptical by
nature, didn't really believe me, chaplain or not.  I guess they thought I
was just trying to make them feel good or that I didn't really know what I
was talking about.  So about mid-afternoon here came the daily resupply
Chinook.  It landed inside the perimeter, of course.  Once the dirt settled
they guys went up the ramp of the helicopter and carried off mermite can
after mermite can.  They lined them up in a serving line.  Then they opened
them up and voila!  There was the feast:  turkey, mash! ed potatoes, sweet
potatoes, beans, salad, gravy, cranberry sauce, egg not, at least two kinds
of pie, nuts, candy, fruit cake, and I don't remember what else.  What stands
out, even after these thirty years, is the pleased surprise of the troopers
when they saw all that food.  No matter that they sat on logs, ACav ramps,
ammo boxes, or wherever they could.  No matter that it wasn't Mom's home
cooking with all the family around.  We had our combat "brothers" all around.
 (Guys often became closer than born brothers.)  A great time was had by all.
 Later that evening at dusk a VC team must have been passing by because a
couple of rocket propelled grenades went flying over our FSB and landed on
the other side.  Naturally, the whole perimeter opened up shooting which took
10 minutes to get it shut off.  But no one was hurt.  More to be thankful for.

That was a Thanksgiving to remember.  It was also a Thanksgiving to "ponder"
on the goodness of God who birthed us into America, a land that stands for
liberty, freedom to worship as we believe and opportunity to excel and to
provide for our families and each other too.  So much does God provide for us
that we even had that real Thanksgiving feast out in the jungle half way
around the world that day in 1969.  Americans are, indeed, of all the people
of the world, most abundantly blessed.  Even those who were in Viet Nam.

Mostly we are blessed to have a feast for our souls which has no limit.  
Indeed, we have available from God Almighty, "soul food" that will cleanse
our hearts, forgive all our sins, and satisfy for eternity.  Jesus talked
about it when he said, "Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone
hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he
with me" (Revelation 3:20.)

Something to ponder this Thanksgiving season.  

God bless you.  God loves you.  So do I.

Chaplain Larry Haworth