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By Maj. Carl Purgerson 198th Infantry Brigade
We all know Thanksgiving as a time to be with loved ones, give thanks for our blessings and, of course, to eat copious amounts of delicious food. But on Nov. 20, Soldiers of the 198th Infantry Brigade gathered briefly during lunch for a small service in which they were reminded to give thanks not only one day out of the year, but every day.
Inside Sand Hills Soldiers Chapel, a screen saver of a small path surrounded on either side by trees was projected on the wall. The protection showed leaves from the trees falling and being blown in the wind. Rachel Thorne played a soft piano melody that welcomed you down lifes pathway. The scene was fitting for giving thanks this time of year. This was the setting for the 198th Infantry Brigades Thanksgiving Service while the traditional Thanksgiving fare was served at all dining facilities turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie along with an array of non-traditional selections.
Col. Jonathan Neumann, commander of the 198th Infantry Brigade, opened the service with a brief statement about giving thanks.
All too often we are quick to ask for things, but much too often slow or not at all to give thanks for what we have received. Not only today, but every day, we should give thanks not for what we asked for, but what will be given before we ask, he said.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Gerald Dubose, from the 198th Inf. Bde., gave a small sermon in which he told of a Soldier named Carl Powers, who served with the 24th Infantry Division during the Korean War.
Powers felt so much for the children of Korea that he brought back and paid for a young Korean boy to go to high school, college and even seminary. That boy, Billy Kim, now presides over all the churches in Korea. Duboses message, derived from Psalms 92, verses 1-5 from the New International Version Bible, elaborated on how past warriors gave thanks for the watchful eye, safety and even hardships that they endured.
Dubose spoke of how even King David spoke of giving God thanks for those blessings that were not as he had hoped and that through both good times and bad, he would give God the glory.
The brigade took a moment of silence to reflect on all the things they were thankful for and then Thorne, a civilian volunteer, played Sweet Hour of Prayer on the piano as the room silently and abundantly gave thanks and prayed for those in harms way, their neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers.
Chaplain (Col.) Thomas MacGregor, garrison chaplain for Fort Benning, offered up his respect and admiration for the Soldiers and civilians of the 198th Inf. Bde.
Outstanding job the 198th Infantry Brigade does every day in training and equipping todays civilian and tomorrows Soldiers into the best well trained fighting force in the world, MacGregor said. I have two sons that came through the 198th and they are currently serving in Afghanistan. I am confident that Americas sons are highly capable in meeting the enemies of this country and will succeed in doing so.
To Michelle Flemming, Thanksgiving is a time for reflection.
It symbolizes a time for me to set aside some of the hustle and bustle of this timeframe, calm it down and begin to reflect how blessed I am for my health and happiness, and the health of my family throughout the year, she said. No matter the trials and tribulations weve been through, with God weve endured and are none the worse for wear, even stronger. I reflect on my friends, co-workers, and superiors who make up my extended family, not just a work environment. Im thankful for their ever-present support, encouragement and talks, especially when Ive needed it. Im thankful for this great country in which Ive lived and prospered; thankful to live in such a great nation and am blessed that every day I know what it means for me and my family to truly feel safe with our military ever present and on duty for us, the best there is in the world.
Afterwards, a small feast of turkey and gravy, mash potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and other Thanksgiving favorites was consumed as civilian employees, volunteers, Soldiers and their Families ate lunch before heading out to give away Thanksgiving baskets to junior Soldiers and their Families in need.
Excellent job by the brigade chaplain and all those who put together the service, said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Evans, 198th Command Sgt. Maj. Inf. Bde. The gathering at the Brigade Chapel today was special for all within the 198th Infantry Brigade who attended. We have a great team of teams and I am sincerely thankful for each of their individual part in regards to our team. It also allowed us the ability to reflect on what is most important today: our Brave and Bold family and giving thanks for all we truly have.