BROOMFIELD, Colo — Like many families, Scott and Heidi Henkel of Broomfield have their Thanksgiving traditions, like having a smoked turkey alongside Italian food like lasagna and tortellini.
But this year marked the start of a new tradition.
“I’m pumped. This is going to be great," Scott Henkel said before the Thanksgiving meal.
The veteran and former U.S. Army captain served in hundreds of missions in Afghanistan with his team years ago. Thursday, they came together for a Thanksgiving celebration years in the making.
"We talked about it a lot when we were overseas, about one of these days we're going to get the team back together," Henkel said. “We rode in the same truck together - all of us - hundreds and hundreds of times."
Siddiqi and his family moved to the area a month later with the help of the Henkel family.
“We’ve always had a blended Thanksgiving, so now we’re going to have an Italian, American, Afghan Thanksgiving," Henkel said.
When the Siddiqis arrived, there were emotional embraces between the veterans.
Siddiqi was always familiar with Thanksgiving when he was with Henkel in Afghanistan, but never like this.
“It’s a big Thanksgiving because I have colleagues here with me after 15 years,” Siddiqi said. “Actually, it’s a blessing. It's a blessing, yeah."
Now, Henkel hopes they can celebrate Thanksgiving like this every year.
“Brand new tradition - we’re going to do this every year,” Henkel said. “It’s just, this is awesome. This is everything that Thanksgiving should be."
Siddiqi said overall, he was happy to have his family for this day.
“Having my family, having the bigger family, extended family,” he said. “New tradition, exactly, yeah. But it’s a good tradition to have. People around one table, enjoying the food and enjoying the good memories."
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Feature stories