At Thanksgiving, family and gratitude are front of mind for most Americans. That might be especially true for families who have soldiers deployed overseas.
Across the state of Iowa in particular, thousands of families are gathering for Thanksgiving meals this year while loved ones are serving abroad. Some families have more than one member deployed at the same time. Among them, the Perdue family of Des Moines.
Linda Perdue and her husband Platt have five loved ones embarking on a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. But adapting to the pressures of military service is not new to this family, in fact Linda Perdue is a Major in the Iowa Army National Guard with 26 years of service, and Platt is prior Navy. No doubt, included in their thoughts today are their loved ones serving in Afghanistan in the Iowa Army National Guard: son Specialist Nick Johnson, his wife Specialist Janna Johnson, Nick's brother Private First Class Christopher Johnson, step-brother Private First Class Anthony Perdue, and cousin Private 2 Nick Vanderpool.
They are all part of the deployment of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry of the Iowa National Guard. With approximately 3,000 soldiers deployed, this is the largest deployment of the Iowa National Guard since World War II.
A unit all its own, Linda Perdue says the family motto is 'all for one and one for all'. It's a sentiment of unity that she says best describes the family, and provides a source of strength. "The things that they experience and what they do together, they will bring home, and again, it's together," said Perdue.