Thanksgiving is one of America’s –and my own — favorite holidays. It’s when families get a chance to come together and spend a few days celebrating family traditions. It gives everyone in America time to pause, reflect, and give thanks for living in the greatest country on earth, where we enjoy freedom, bounty, and blessings far above most other citizens in any country.
But as we all know, these freedoms and blessings are not free. They were purchased for us by the greatest military on earth, starting with the farmers, doctors, and tavern owners in George Washington’s army to those patriots from all fifty states who safeguard us today.
One of those patriots, a 21-year-old Army Soldier, will not be at the family table this Thanksgiving. He made his last trip home on October 16, his ashes carried by a family member. While boarding was about to begin, an employee of Alaskan Airlines asked travelers to help her honor the Soldier while she sang the National Anthem for him. Her tribute was recorded by a passenger on the flight and was later shared by another flight attendant.
I posted this video last week that Neal recorded and our family witnessed in awe at the beautiful voice of Denise Snow in her tribute towards the traveling ashes of a former service member. The positive response was amazing! Well, today I would like to dedicate this video towards Theodore Jette, Neal's father. Earlier today we lost Ted very suddenly. He collapsed in front of his home in Big Lake, Alaska. Ted was also a retired military veteran and had survived the Vietnam War. Jette family hearts are broken today. We all love you Ted and may you rest in peace. Thank you for the beautiful family you have built and thank you for your service.
Posted by Julia Collman Jette on Friday, October 23, 2015
According to Alaska Airlines, “On Oct. 16, Julia Jette was half asleep in the Anchorage airport, waiting to board a red eye flight to Seattle, when she heard something unexpected.
“We thought it was the announcement to start boarding, “ Jette said.
Instead it was customer service agent Denise Snow, letting her passengers know that a fallen soldier’s ashes would be traveling on the plane and that she would like to sing in his honor.
“Everyone as far as I could see stood in respect and were silent as she sang,” said Jette, who posted a video of the tribute to Facebook. “I was fighting back tears. The family member carrying the ashes was crying and it ripped my heart out. It was amazing and heart wrenching all at once.”
In less than a week, Jette’s husband’s video of Snow, which she shared on Facebook, had 142,000 views and more than 4,000 shares.”
And now we know why.
Dear friends, never forget, there’s a reason we can gather together in peace on Thanksgiving, enjoying the bounty of the day and the company of friends and family members. For over two hundred years our fellow countrymen and women have taken up arms to defend freedom here and around the globe. They’ve stood watch in freezing temperatures, been subject to torture and starvation, forgone months and even years of holidays with family, and in many cases returned home with horrible injuries and bad health. Some never returned home and are buried on foreign soil. During those two hundred years and continuing even today, many foreign entities have sought to destroy the foundations of freedom that were established for us by God and Washington’s army. Before the football, before the pie, before the dinner and fellowship of friends and family, don’t forget to reflect on the sacrifices made for us by those, who, like the 21-year-old soldier killed last month, will be unable to enjoy those blessings. May the Lord keep them and grant them eternal peace.
[Note: This article was written by Ashley Edwardson]