Giving thanks

by Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***What it means to be thankful was the thought behind the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s 2007 Thanksgiving Prayer Luncheon Nov. 20 at the Armstrong Community Club on Vogelweh Housing.

“I couldn’t decide whether to talk about what I’m thankful for or the definition of the word ‘thankful’ and how it exudes much more than just eight letters,” said Spc. Jennifer Gold, from American Forces Network Kaiserslautern, who was giving a “Why I Celebrate Thanksgiving” speech at the event that was attended by more than 100 members of the KMC.

She decided to look up the words “thankful” and “gratitude” on Specialist Gold read the definition – “Gratitude is the substance of a heart ready to show appreciation or thankfulness. It’s not simply an emotion.”

***image2***She went on to say that this definition sounded intimidating to her. “It’s almost like we have an obligation to give thanks to something – anything, but, I encourage everyone to really appreciate even the smallest of gestures every day of the year.”

The guest speaker – the garrison’s Staff Chaplain (Lt. Col.) William McCoy – took another route by looking into the history of Thanksgiving in America. This started with President George Washington’s proclamation making Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789, an official holiday of “sincere and humble thanks” and continuing throughout America’s history of Thanksgiving before addressing the present-day celebration.

“May you and your loved ones too find your thankful heart and train it toward God in these days of continuing war and increasingly challenging days. May you always revere the Almighty and may you know the blessings of the Lord each and every day,” said Chaplain McCoy.

Sponsored by the Chaplain’s Office, the Thanksgiving Prayer observance has been a garrison tradition for more than 10 years.

***image3***This year’s event also showcased community readings, hymns, a prayer and a Thanksgiving meal.