COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Thanksgiving is a day for us all to fill our stomachs with our favorite foods, be with loved ones, and give thanks.
However, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be possible without all the men and women who serve our country. For one family with two generations of active and retired soldiers, this Thanksgiving has been especially memorable.
The Kirsch family has spent many holidays apart because of the Army. So, on days like today when they’re all together, they said they cherish every moment.
“It means the world to me,” Tom Kirsch, a retired Vietnam war veteran, said.
Tom Kirsch stood beside his two sons, David and Brian Kirsch, who have served for decades in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It’s just good to have the family in one place. Even if it is just for a little while,” Tom Kirsch said.
The three men were given Quilts of Valor for their courage, honor, and sacrifice to our country.
“It’s humbling and it makes me grateful,” Tom Kirsch said. “The country that I live in and grateful for the upbringing that I had so I could pass it on to my sons.”
“It’s all I knew was the military. At the end of the day, I can see how much training I received with my dad. I’ve learned a lot,” David Kirsch said.
The American Legion Association has given quilts to nearly 250,000 veterans.
“Having friends and family recognize some of the sacrifices you and your family make and they want to honor that and cherish it, it was very honorable,” Brian Kirsch said.
Organizers and crafters hope the quilts touch war veterans with comfort and healing.
“It is hard to sit home and see your sons go off and go into dangerous countries and do things that are scary and all I can do is sit home and pray for them,” Tom Kirsch said.
Tom said, although it was difficult, it makes days like Thanksgiving Day receiving the Quilt of Valor together, even more special.
“I was scared, but I was proud. And I’m even more proud of them today,” Tom Kirsch said.
Brian said he grew up wanting to follow in his dad’s footsteps, but his older brother, David said that he didn’t know until he was graduating high school.
All three men said that it was difficult missing out on family moments throughout the years, but on days like Thanksgiving, they said they like to remember their families, including their wives and children, who have made their own sacrifices over the years.
The Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 and they’ve given out more than 30,000 quilts to veterans who have served our country this year alone.