ĀDAŽI, Latvia — Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for and the U.S. Soldiers deployed around the world are no exception to that. For Soldiers assigned to the 1st Infantry Division (1 ID), the Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated in various ways at Camp Ādaži, Latvia, Nov. 24, 2022.
To bring the holiday festivities to deployed Soldiers overseas, Soldiers were tasked to coordinate and run various events throughout Thanksgiving day.
“It was fulfilling to see all us units here come together as a family and enjoy Thanksgiving,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Meaghan Ambelang, a field artillery officer assigned to 1 ID.
The Thanksgiving meal was served by command staff as well as visiting dignitaries that included U.S. Army Col. Richard J. Ikena Jr., commander of the 1 ID artillery, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. McLaughlin, artillery command sergeant major of the 1 ID, and U.S. Ambassador to Latvia John Carwile.
“I had amazing noncommissioned officers in charge of each of the events that assisted me in running them while I worked behind the scenes to make sure they had what they needed to successfully execute the events,” said Ambelang.
Appreciation for deployed Soldiers and the sacrifices that are made everyday were some of the highlights addressed during this Thanksgiving celebration.
“It can be tough being away from your family at Thanksgiving,” said Carwile. “We are very proud to be here with you as you represent the United States, so once again many thanks.”
During the holiday season many Soldiers face struggles, however, they persevere through the hardships of being separated from family and friends.
“Taking time to be thankful allows a person to have a healthy perspective in the face of many circumstances they find themselves in during the holiday season,” said U.S. Army Maj. Cliff Neuman, a chaplain assigned to 1 ID.
Being a member of a team is inherent for success on the battlefield. With that sense of family and camaraderie, Soldiers can bring solace to each other while separated from loved ones.
“We are constantly told that we are a team and a family but I believe when we organize events for the Soldiers to come together and celebrate, it puts those actions to words,” said Ambelang.