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Thanksgiving: A day to give thanks

The men and women of the 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind. wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen)

The men and women of the 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind. wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Whether serving in uniform or as a civil servant; deployed overseas or stationed stateside, the men and women of the 434th ARW work every day to defend the nation, helping to ensure America is safe and secure.

All around the nation Americans come together to participate in the tradition of watching football and gathering around their dinner table with family and friends. But this week, as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, they also gather to celebrate American freedom and remember those individuals who remain on duty, helping to protect our nation.

Dating back to its origins in 1621, Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

A year prior to the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims, a group of religious separatists, landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, after searching for a land where they could worship freely. These early colonists experienced a devastating winter that cost them the lives of nearly half their people. The following fall, the Pilgrims had a bountiful harvest thanks to Native Americans who helped them survive that first year. These thankful Americans, both native and new, gathered together for a three-day feast to celebrate, and an American tradition was born.

In keeping with the spirit of thankfulness of Thanksgiving, please take a moment to remember service members of the past and those who remain on duty, helping to protect our nation. The military personnel, civilian employees and contractors at Grissom Air Reserve Base wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Grissom is home to the 434th Air Refueling Wing, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

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