Thanksgiving is this Thursday. For many of us this means a day of traditions that have been handed down from family for years. For us military families we have definitely learned to adjust our traditions to fit our military lifestyles.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims and lasted 3 days. Thanksgiving became an official holiday in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November would be “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”.
In these modern days we celebrate this tradition of giving thanks. For most of us this means Turkey, thankful prayers, family and for many football. Fro many military families it may mean celebrating in a foreign country or with out our service member at our dining table. In a recent article written by Danielle Keech “What is Your Holiday Tradition?” she shares how she keeps traditions alive as a new military spouse. Danielle’s article got me to thinking of how the military has influenced some our traditions.
For many of us military families we adapt and learn new traditions. One tradition I love about being a military family is having the single service members over for dinner. For the first few years of our marriage we had several of our single marine friends over and it gave the day that family feeling. Sharing the holiday with other families also gave us a chance to see and taste other traditions. Because celebrating a holiday far from home was hard and I was thankful for this tradition of making sure no one spent Thanksgiving alone and that we were making new traditions with a new “family”. One tradition that has been constant at every Thanksgiving gathering I have been to do is the dinner prayer and asking for the safe return of all our of service members deployed.
Celebrating Thanksgiving overseas can also be a challenge. I can remember my Mom adapting her stuffing recipe because all the ingredients she needed were not available at the Yokata AFB commissary. During our year in Guam we had a dear friend host Thanksgiving for 30 of us. For this event my other friend wanted to bring her traditional buttermilk pie but their was not a carton of buttermilk to be found on the island. We all were on the look out at the commissary to grab a carton if it came in!! These wonderful memories will always be a part of us and some these friendships have lasted an entire military career and beyond. Oh and we did have buttermilk pie and it was delicious!!
How does your family keep traditions alive? Are you a military family that has adapted your traditions to fit your traveling lifestyle? I would love for you to share your answers here on the blog or on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page. I know for me setting out the good dishes and lighting candles in my cornucopia candle holder makes the day special no matter where we are living at the time.
As my children have grown up our family tradition has become a night at the movies. I am a little upset the new Hobbit movie is not coming out on Thanksgiving!! We have even done a little late night shopping after the movies. I can not remember the last time we were home in California for Thanksgiving and it has been years since all of my children were home for the holiday. This year we will fill up the chairs at the table with my sons roommates from USF and look forward to the phone calls we will make to our out of state family.
I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you will be able to celebrate with old and new traditions.
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