Blessed with freedom? Thank a soldier.

It goes without saying, of course, that all good things come from God.  It is to Him, above all, that we owe our lives, our liberties and our individual pursuits of happiness on this earth. 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Let it ring in glorious chorus from all over the land this Thanksgiving.

We ourselves, though, are God's hands on earth, His workers, His vintners, His harvesters of these our many good gifts.  As all wise men and women know, God helps those who help themselves. 

So, I say, if we and our families are blessed with freedom this year, then we must thank a soldier.  Freedom, as the sentient saying goes, was never free.  And it never will be. 

Without those Americans ready to shoulder the burdens of our defenses -- most of us city-dwelling, computer-whizzing, armchair-quarterbacking, cocktail-partying, tennis-playing, lunch-doing, mall-shopping, celebrity-ogling, book-reading, podium-pontificating Americans - would be up the creek in dangerous waters without so much as a twig for a paddle.

And this year, more than most, the American citizen's burden of gratitude is far greater than average. 

We now have a Commander in Chief, who in shallow, selfish mode, regards our troops as a "pretty good photo op."  A Commander in Chief, who plays golf, vacations at the Vineyard, takes his wife on fancy dates in New York City and goes apology-tour globetrotting at every possible opportunity -- but dithers and dithers and dithers over the very real decisions concerning our national security.  American troops are dying in Afghanistan, some for necessity, others shamefully for want of adequate numbers to get the job done.  Without a responsible Commander in Chief this year, our troops need to hear from us more than ever. 

We have just suffered the first terrorist attack on our own soil since 9/11.  Now, let those safely-ensconced, bubble-headed media elites go on and on all they want with their armchair psychobabble.  Anyone with better than a pea-sized brain and an ounce of common sense understands exactly what happened at Ft. Hood.

It was solitary jihad.  It was solitary jihad.  It was solitary jihad. 

Yet, our Ditherer in Chief would apparently like to wait until more Americans are similarly gunned down before "drawing conclusions."  Our army's own top officer, General George Casey, thinks more Ft.-Hood-type attacks would actually be better than if our troops' "diversity" were to suffer:

"Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."

As a mother, I have to wonder whether these dimwits would be singing the same tune if the people killed were little American school children and the shooter was their bus driver, hired by a diversity chief.  Perhaps in these leaders' addled minds, soldiers are expendable pawns, not flesh-and-blood sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives.  

But there you have it, dear readers.  President Obama and General Casey would seem to prefer the innocent shedding of real human blood to profiling against even the self-sworn, very vocal enemies within our midst.

With friends like these...

So, this Thanksgiving, more than in any year since 9/11, I'm writing the biggest check I possibly can to my favorite troop-support group.  Operation Gratitude says it all.  It's not political; it's just plain thankfulness.  Thankful for each and every man and woman, willing to lay down his or her life for the safety of all Americans.  Without them, there would be no more Thanksgiving Days. 

Operation Gratitude is the only troop-support organization in which every single penny donated actually goes to pay postage for care packages sent to our troops.  Not one penny goes for any other expense; none goes for salaries or advertising.  Thousands of pure volunteers - receiving not a penny for their time and effort - work tirelessly throughout the year to gather the donated items, which fill each package, addressed to an individual soldier or Marine in harm's way. 

Thousands more volunteers lovingly assemble each package in Van Nuys, California and fill it to the brim with snacks, DVDs, phone cards, toiletries and anything else America's companies, civic groups and individuals donate to the cause.  Handwritten letters and cards from real Americans go into each and every package. 

But, sadly, in this age of profligate government spending, rampant with waste and fraud and political payoffs, postage for packages going to soldiers and Marines in harm's way is an expense our congress simply cannot abide. 

They'll spend our money to frank their own political mail from their offices.  They'll spend our money to build bridges to nowhere and airports with no passengers.  They'll spend thousands of dollars each year for fresh flowers to adorn the Speaker's offices.  They'll spend our money on every frivolous absurdity the mind can imagine, but they won't spend it to get packages to our troops in the war zones.

In this age of utter moral confusion, we can thank the Good Lord every minute of the day that some people remain on the straight and narrow and do the good that must be done.  One such group of well-grounded folks is Operation Gratitude.  The holiday drive is underway.  It costs $11 this year to send a single package to the middle east, where most are headed.

Yes, this whole column is a thoroughly shameless, unapologetically transparent plea for money.  There are scores of groups asking for it and most are worthy of every penny.  But Operation Gratitude is my favorite.  It was started by a mom in her own living room with not an ounce of support from any fat-cat or bigwig.  In only 6 years, it has grown to a veritable homefront army, sending not only good cheer and morale-boosting goodies to our beloved troops in harm's way, but enriching a grateful nation - one person at a time - in the process.  So, if you possibly can, please donate to the holiday drive this year.  More than ever, our troops need to know we love them and appreciate them and honor them -- with all our hearts and souls and wallets. 

Happy Thanksgiving Day 2009!  We're still free, hallelujah!  God-granting and soldiers willing to serve, we always will be.
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