For many, Thanksgiving is a time when friends and family gather around a table to drink too heavily, eat too much, and shout loudly over one another — or at least that’s the case in my family. We build new memories and reminisce about the people in life that make us grateful.
While serving in the Marines and spending Thanksgivings away from home, I came to realize what many before me already knew — that the holiday doesn’t change much.
For the countless American men and women who have missed the holidays while abroad in times of war and peace, and for the many away this year, here’s a collection of photos, images, and videos of an American Thanksgiving at war.
This sketch, by American illustrator Alfred Waud, depicts a Thanksgiving celebration at a Union camp in 1861.
World War I
Service members celebrate the end of World War I with a Thanksgiving feast on Nov. 28, 1918.
World War II
U.S. Army Sgt. Frank Shiborski, a 50 cal. machine gunner from Detroit, Michigan, takes a moment to enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey drumstick on Nov 22, 1944.
This video, called “Turkey and Trimmings” by Army filmmakers, shows U.S. soldiers in Italy preparing Thanksgiving dinner in 1944.
Marines serving in Korea enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in this undated photo.
Sgt. 1st Class Lonnie Mitchell prepares a Thanksgiving Day dinner for Special Forces soldiers at Xom Cat, Vietnam. The unit’s only source of resupply was by helicopter and the video follows Mitchell from the kitchen all the way to the isolated hilltop where they enjoy their holiday meal on Nov. 22, 1966.
A British soldier is served Thanksgiving Day dinner at the 1st Marine Division combat center in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield on Nov. 23, 1990.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Soldiers with the 30th Brigade Combat Team of the North Carolina National Guard wait in line for Thanksgiving dinner at Forward Operating Base Cobra in Abu Ghraib, Iraq, on Nov. 25, 2004.
Operation Enduring Freedom
Soldiers with 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, hunker around a small fire to eat their Thanksgiving meal at Combat Outpost Cherkatah, in Khost province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 26, 2009.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.