Thanksgiving in Afghanistan

William Fullmer DVM By William Fullmer DVM, 25th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>True Stories

This year my sister spent Thanksgiving in Afghanistan, here is her story.

American Red Cross in Bagram Airfield Afghanistan

This Thanksgiving was a once in a lifetime experience for my sister Jana who is currently serving with the American Red Cross in Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. She serves in the group’s military support division. While deployed her mission is to link families during an emergency, by quickly sending communications between serviceman and women and their families. The Red Cross provides this service everyday of the year, twenty four hours a day. Jana, who flew to Afghanistan in November, will complete her duty in March of 2012.

Jana and our family are no strangers to military service. My brother Shane currently serves full time in the army and has made multiple trips to Afghanistan and Iraq. His son Austin, who is currently serving as a full time Christian missionary in Germany, is a cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy. In June of 2007, my nephew Derek was killed in Iraq, after serving in Afghanistan. Jana has served multiple deployments to Iraq, but this is her first assignment to Afghanistan.

Being away from home and family is not easy under the best of circumstances, but being separated during the holidays is even more difficult. Last year Jana spent Thanksgiving at Herb Island while stationed at Camp Casey South Korea, which at the time, she considered her most interesting holiday spot. On November 23rd however she had the opportunity to visit the Egyptian Army Hospital in Bagram. The Egyptians have been operating the hospital since 2003 and its primary function is to treat local Afghan’s. After meeting the colonel and his two majors she entered the hospital compound which in her words, was like walking “into a National Geographic magazine”. There were about fifty children and their mothers in the hospital grounds. When she walked in the children excitedly swarmed around her. In anticipating the children, she brought candy, which she gave to each one of them after the guards lined them up in an orderly fashion. What an extraordinary opportunity to bring a bit of holiday spirit to those families.

The military provides the Red Cross personnel with meals as they serve. Jana and her team met at noon at the DAFC for Thanksgiving dinner. The cooking staff works very hard to provide everyone with the most sumptuous food possible. Jana described the meal as the best that she has had since her arrival.

At this Thanksgiving I am grateful for her and all those others that are serving this country far from home, in unfamiliar surroundings. I am grateful for the countless drops of American blood that have been shed for us on foreign soil, so that we, and billions of people around the world can enjoy the blessings of freedom. As we consider our blessings during this holiday season, please keep in mind these selfless men and women who are committed to the ideals this country stands for.

Many of us might have a difficult time finding what we are grateful for, if in a similar situation. Jana wrote today on our family website. “Today I am so grateful for the many amazing and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities I’ve had!”


Afghanistan, Afghanistan Story, Afghans, Bagram, Coast Guard, Egyptian Army, Herb Island, Military, Military Appreciation, National Geographic Magazine, Red Cross, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Dinner

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author avatar William Fullmer DVM
Dr. Fullmer graduated from Washington State University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. He also graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in Veterinary Sciences and f

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
25th Nov 2011 (#)

A day late, but Happy Thanksgiving to your family, thanks for sharing this story.

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author avatar Songbird B
28th Dec 2011 (#)

A lovely article that reminds us how far apart family members can be on Thanksgiving..Thank you for this personal share William..

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author avatar William Fullmer DVM
29th Apr 2015 (#)

your are welcome.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Apr 2015 (#)

I do hope your brother and sister are safe back at home now. Being grateful brings the best of blessings - siva

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author avatar William Fullmer DVM
29th Apr 2015 (#)

Thank you for the comment. They are both safe, in fact my sister now lives in Portland not far from my home.

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