Thanksgiving and MFA: a time for thanks

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- November is Military Family Appreciation Month. It is an annual tribute to the family members who serve our country alongside their loved ones in uniform. I encourage you to take the time to show your appreciation to your family. Many times, military personnel in their retirement speech comment on the support they've received from their family over the years. Don't wait until your retirement to tell them how much their support means to you as a military member and how their sacrifice made your service possible. Take the time to show your appreciation for the things they do every day. No one I know ever looked back at the end of a military career and said to themself, "I wished I'd worked more." It's imperative for each of us to find the balance between work and home life. I know your country is counting on you, but so is your family.

By focusing on strengthening our family relationships, we are all better able to perform our mission. We can be sure our loved ones will be prepared for those times when we spend extra hours at work or during the long months of an extended deployment. By striking a balance between mission and family, we strengthen both. The core value of Service Before Self includes service to our nation and to our families.

One of the great times to show your appreciation for your family is at Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for: our thriving democracy, a secure and prosperous nation and the blessings of family and friends. Thanksgiving allows us an opportunity to consider how truly fortunate we as Americans really are. It is an opportunity to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy because of the selfless dedication and commitment of our service men and women.

In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, remember to be a Wingman. The Airman's Creed is a constant reminder of the need to look out for each other, and the holiday season is a time of year when Wingmen are needed most.

In addition, each of us should take time to pause and remember those carrying our wartime mission banner and who will not be home with family, friends and loved ones. Vandenberg has more than 175 members deployed in support of vital military operations around the world. They are working around the world, and around the clock, to ensure our great nation and its citizens continue to benefit from the liberty, security and prosperity we enjoy daily. As good Wingmen, we also need to look out for their family members while they are away from home securing the freedoms we enjoy every day.

Now is the time to be with your friends and family and reflect on all we have to be thankful for. Liz and I thank you for everything you do every day for our Nation and wish you and your families best wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.