In the States, when holidays roll around, we have everything we need to ensure we have an excellent time. We can decorate, cook, and have music to suit the occasion with no problem at all, thanks to the plethora of stores at our disposal.
However, when those holidays come around for soldiers who are deployed, it takes a bit more ingenuity and determination to celebrate as close as possible to how you would at home. If you aren’t one of the fortunate ones who possesses a sense of imagination, we’ve got you covered.
We have some ideas on how you can celebrate the US holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or even the Fourth of July.
1. A Grill
One of the most important staples of the 4th of July celebrations is the all mighty grill. You could walk into any American’s back yard and find some grilling device, whether it is a fancy one that is built into the patio, a stainless steel monstrosity that could cook a whole hog or a small charcoal grill that sits on your tabletop. It doesn’t matter what it looks like; it just needs to be able to cook. Of course, if you haven’t gotten a grill yet, you could just use a burn barrel, cut it in half lengthwise, and put some chicken wire over the opening and you’ve got yourself a grill! Fill that sucker up with some charcoal (or even scrap wood) at your PX and go about it!
Word of caution: We don’t recommend using cooking oil or lighter fluid because it could easily get out of control and cause a bigger fire than originally intended.
2. Get the Food
What’s the point of having a grill for your cookout if you haven’t the food to cook on it? Now, this may not always be the easiest thing to do, and there are a few choice words that will always go in tandem with the resourcefulness of the NCO. These words include “acquire,” “obtain,” “procure,” and even “appropriate” are excellent choices. Whatever you want to call it, you’re going to want to come up with an alibi as well as an escape plan. However, everything can go much smoother when you have an NCO, who uses his charm to coax the DFAC workers out of the goods.
3. Be Sponsored
Sometimes you can reach out to the community and get sponsored. If you’re fortunate enough, your author could send you a bunch of delights from home that could be sent to you all the way from the states. Some thoughtful folks have been able to send over vacuum-sealed pies, treats, and other delicious assortments of goodies. Others have sent cards, board games, and any other thoughtful reminders of being home in the states.
4. Be Thankful for the Small Things
Whenever someone asks you what you miss most about home, you can go the sentimental route and say you miss them, miss being in their arms, or whatever else. Or, you could be truthful and tell them what you miss—the snacks! Once, a soldier told his wife that he longed for the most were some delicious chips and salsa. She then sent them copious bags of tortilla chips and the fixings to make their very own salsa. While it may not have been fresh produce, the soldiers said it was the best dip they have had in such a long time. It is about the simpler things in life that you can appreciate.
5. Surround Yourself with Friends.
Although you may be deployed thousands of miles away from home, this doesn’t mean you have to celebrate the holiday alone. There is going to be plenty of good people who are in the same situation that you are, and you can use this experience to bond with one another, share stories of what your life is like back home, and the people that are waiting for you.
When you aren’t celebrating the Fourth of July, you are creating and living the history that civilians back home celebrate on this day. We salute you brave men and women who are willing to give up everything so that we may have the freedoms our forefathers dreamed for us. Thank you.