Thanksgiving Day is a unique American holiday and custom. Traditionally, the Pilgrims in 1621 celebrated a day of thanksgiving with local Native Americans for the bountiful harvest that nature provided to them during their first year in the New World. Throughout our nation's history, this day has evolved into the celebration and customs that we enjoy today, which for most Americans means gathering together with family and friends.
Beyond our abundant harvests and tremendous natural resources with which nature has blessed our nation, we have much for which to be thankful. We enjoy political, economic, and religious freedoms that are a model for the rest of the world. This year, Americans can especially be proud of the continued excellence of its military and its successes around the world against the threats to our values and freedoms. And most importantly, Americans are grateful to all of our citizens who voluntarily wear the uniform, especially those who are away from their families on this special holiday.
Diane and I would like to wish all Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and the Civilians of the European Command and their families a wonderful Thanksgiving. During this festive occasion, please reflect for a moment and give thanks for all of the blessings that we enjoy as citizens of the United States. For those who will not be with family this year, please know that our thoughts are with you and your loved ones during this time and that all Americans are grateful for the sacrifices that you make on our behalf.
General James L. Jones U.S. Marine Corps Commander, U.S. European Command