Readers may recall Tom Cotton as the Harvard Law graduate who clerked with a federal appellate judge and worked with two Washington law firms before enlisting in the Army to become an infantry officer. The late, already missed Dean Barnett included Tom among his profiles of great Americans in “the 9/11 generation.” Dean wrote of Tom:
Cotton enlisted for one reason: He wanted to lead men into combat. His recruiter suggested that he use the talents he had spent seven years developing at Harvard and join the JAG Corps, the Armed Forces’ law firm. Cotton rejected that idea. He instead began 15 months of training that culminated with his deployment to Iraq as a 2nd lieutenant platoon leader with the 101st Airborne in Baghdad.
Tom completed his tour in Iraq and received arduous special training back in the United States. He is now serving a tour in Afghanistan. Last night he sent out a charecteristically thoughtful Thanksgiving message to friends and family at home:
I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. We’re having our big dinner later this afternoon. The Army takes good care of its people on the holidays; even the most remote, tiny bases will get a hot, traditional dinner on or about Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving in Afghanistan impresses on me just how many blessings we enjoy in America. A bountiful land; untold riches (even today); civil justice; religious freedom; widespread and outstanding education; boundless opportunity; and, perhaps most important, democratic self-government under the world’s oldest and finest Constitution.
I, in particular, am very thankful for my second Thanksgiving with Katie (even if we can’t be together), the love of my family, and the support and encouragement from all of you. I am humbled and grateful for your many kind wishes, cards, packages, and other gestures. On behalf of troopers everywhere, I extend you all the sincerest thanks.
Even as we give thanks, we also remember all those less fortunate, both at home in this time of economic hardship and abroad. While we didn’t come to Afghanistan for this reason, we here are proud to represent the country in her efforts to share some of our many blessings with the Afghan people. And, while remembering today, please take a moment to “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers” over the last seven years, as President Lincoln asked when he proclaimed our first national day of thanksgiving.
Foremost among the many blessings we have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving is the service of the men and women of our armed forces that secures the blessings of liberty to us.
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