This past Thanksgiving, Nicole and I were super excited to participate in the Adopt-a-Marine programwith the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. This program gives local families the opportunity to invite service members into their homes to share Thanksgiving dinner. We live right near Camp Pendleton now, and this was our first year as a host family. Last year, we didn’t learn about the program until it was too late, but our family did go out and greet the bus that dropped the service members off. I remember thinking how nervous they looked, like deer in the headlights. A lot of these young people are away from home for the first time, and it can be hard to spend the holidays far from your friends and family. Thanksgiving is really important to Nicole and I. Growing up, both of us loved Thanksgiving and getting to spend time with our families. As we got ready to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in our new house, we couldn’t think of a better way to do it than by opening our doors to those who need a little extra comfort. I always feel awkward when I meet a service member and thank them for their service. It feels so inadequate. Words can never be enough to truly thank someone for what they are sacrificing in the name of our country. It takes a great deal of courage to enlist and put everything on the line to serve our country. My grandfather was a fighter pilot in the Marines and later served as a judge advocate general (JAG) lawyer for many years. So my dad and aunts spent their childhoods moving to different military bases around the country. I grew up going to the Marine base in Orange County and hearing vets tell their stories. I heard tales of crazy heroics told as if they were no big deal, because those were the kinds of things these people did every day. Participating in this program felt like a genuine way to show our thanks and give back to this community. For Finn and Harlow, this was a really important learning experience. Nicole and I wanted to show our kids the importance of respecting service members and the value of practicing simple acts of kindness. The world can always use more kindness, especially right now. We want Finn and Harlow to see that SIMPLE ACTS OF KINDNESS WHAT IT MEANS TO OPEN YOUR HEART
Words can never be enough to truly thank someone for what they are sacrificing in the name of our country.
Below: Dropping the boys off to head back to base at 6 p.m.
even just cooking a meal for someone on Thanksgiving can bring so much joy into a person’s heart. three months of boot camp and were TIRED! Finn said, “Everyone, be quiet, please! Our Marines are finally sleeping!” Above: They finally fell asleep on our sofa an hour before they had to leave. They just finished
I felt like the Adopt-a-Marine programwas the real-life embodiment of the ideals behind the story of the first Thanksgiving we’re all told. Thanksgiving is meant to be more than a time to list off the things we are grateful for. It’s a time to put that gratitude into action and share our blessings with others.
This was a humbling experience and something we would like to do again in the future. It’s a simple thing to open your doors and your heart to a stranger, but it can do so much good in the world.
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