I’m a bit homesick today, wishing I had woken up in my old bedroom in my parents’ house, my kids across the hall, the smell of coffee wafting up the stairs. I’m wishing I were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with everyone at home. Instead, it’s an ordinary day here in England and I’ll have to wait until Christmas for my turkey and gravy.
Last year, my mom sent me an article she clipped from the Wall Street Journal (See mom? I do pay attention!). As I received it after Thanksgiving, I held onto it for this year. It’s about Thanksgiving in England, 1942. A war year, a hard year, as so many years before, and after, would be. But that November 26th, the Brits welcomed the homesick servicemen with open arms, with meals and church services, as best they could. Merchant ships had carried over frozen turkeys from the States for the servicemen, who turned around and donated all of them to the thousands of British servicemen in the hospital because of wounds received in the war.
Some of the Americans were able to visit the churches where the Pilgrims worshiped, or visit the pier where the Mayflower set sail for the New World.
In London, Westminster Abbey, for the first time in its history, allowed an American-style Thanksgiving service–never before had any service been allowed there besides a Church of England ceremony. Officials weren’t expecting many people to show up; they’d only placed a small mention of the service in the newspapers, but 3,000 men and women in uniform turned up, and it was quickly standing room only.
I’m grateful, today and always, for my safety and freedom in this nation, for the health of my family, for the chance to show my children a different part of the world than the place they were born into. I’m grateful that I want for nothing. And I think of the soldiers fighting wars for us today and wish them safety and strength and, of course, for all of us, peace.