30 years ago today, I was on a bus headed to Basic Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

I remember the exact date because not only was it the biggest step I had ever taken, but it also happened to be the day before my mother's birthday.

After a bus ride to New Jersey via New Orleans, and then a day in the transition barracks, I began my basic training on Monday, November 30.

It didn't take long for the drill sergeants to identify my accent as that of a Cajun, and, in turn, it didn't take long for me to learn to speak without an accent! (Once I was able to drop the accent, my life became so much easier.)

Why am I going on about this anniversary? Well, I had never thought about how close my entry date was to Thanksgiving. When I think of things for which I am thankful, I usually think of those people who are currently serving and who have served. I also think about the people who supported me while I was serving. I am thankful for the life lessons that my active duty years taught, and for the discipline, determination, and friendships I developed during those years that I carry with me today.

As a matter of fact, I attribute my current success in radio to those very traits I learned while serving (wait, did I just say "success" and "radio" in the same sentence??). According to the guy who hired me, I was hired for my first radio job because of my military experience; he felt that I would have more discipline than the other candidates who applied.

As we are now in the holiday season, I ask that you think about those who are away from home serving our country. Of the years I was away from home, it was the holiday season that was the toughest to bear.

If you have a friend or family member in the military, please consider sending a thank-you note or a Christmas greeting to them this year, as it will help them get through the season. If you are really feeling thankful, get together with others to put together care packages of home-made (or store-bought) goodies and send for them to share with their units, as I remember I was everyone's best friend when Mom or my sisters would send cookies!



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