AF ISR Agency's Leadership Thanksgiving message

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Fellow Airmen,

Thanksgiving has long had a tradition of overeating and football, but it was born amidst severity and hardship almost 400 years ago as the Pilgrims celebrated a bountiful harvest after a brutal winter that killed many of the original settlers. Although celebrated periodically after that, Thanksgiving essentially became an annual tradition in 1863, in the midst of the heartbreak and severity of our Civil War, as President Lincoln urged everyone in the country to pause and give thanks for the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. The fourth Thursday in November was declared a federal holiday in 1941 in the midst of both the Great Depression and World War II.

Our ancestors understood the importance of pausing to give thanks during difficult times, and Chief Weseloh and I believe it is important for each of us to do so once again this coming Thursday. The news headlines are not always comforting - the economy is tough, thousands of brave American men and women are serving in harm's way, and it is easy to think we are living in dark times again. But we have many, many advantages for which to be grateful. We are blessed as no other country in the world, or in history, with freedoms that are guarded by that persistent watch kept by the men and women in uniform. We can give thanks for the peace and stability to celebrate in our homes this Thanksgiving, and especially offer thanks for those who willingly volunteer to serve in our armed forces to ensure that peace and stability continues.

As the silent warriors who provide that peace and stability, you are a microcosm of our diverse nation. That diversity is America's and our Agency's biggest strength and includes the common bond of selfless service.

That selfless service is not without sacrifice, so we also ask that you pause to remember those who have made the highest of sacrifices, and their families whose Thanksgiving will be especially poignant this year.

The Command Chief and I encourage all of you to be vigilant for the safety of your families and yourself over the holiday, and thank each and every one of you for your hard work and dedication to this Agency, this Air Force and this great nation.

BRADLEY A. HEITHOLD,
Maj. Gen. USAF

PAUL H. WESELOH, CMSgt, USAF
Commander Command Chief Master Sergeant