The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving

He doesn't have much money.

He never did and suspects he never will.

He doesn't care.

He comes from good family, not rich family. But rich in the things that count: being close, being there.

Those things mean a lot when you're a soldier and you've served in Iraq and been wounded in Iraq — wounded badly in Iraq.

His vehicle was hit by a landmine. His body was engulfed in flames.

He has had dozens of operations and dozens more painful skin grafts.

He looks like he's been through hell. But these many months later, he sounds like he's in heaven. But he's here.

He's grateful for this season, grateful for this country and grateful for his service.

His only regret is that he can't serve more.

So he's doing what he can: Spearheading something called a Coalition to Salute America's Heroes.

His friends call him J.R. — Corporal J.R. Martinez.

He's battered in body, but beautiful in soul.

The smile. The optimism. The patriotism.

If Corporal Martinez doesn't put things in perspective, nothing will — no one will.

Around him, I whine less, and think more.

So I'm so excited he's coming back. But I'm more excited he brings me back... to the things that are important: family, duty, honor and country.

At a time of year when so many of us sniff over what we should be thankful about, here's a guy who's been through hell and wonders, what on Earth does he have to complain about?

You know there's a reason they call guys like J.R., heroes. They are.

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