At Thanksgiving in the military, they’re not home in the US

Story highlights While most people will celebrate Thanksgiving at home, some US troops spend their days far from friends and family.

The biggest draw for US troops is to celebrate the holiday close to home, so there are local celebrations at American installations around the world.

For those who don’t have the option to celebrate Thanksgiving at home this year, we found some amazing photo collections that showcase local Thanksgiving festivities for troops stationed overseas.

They’re spread all over the world, from the Middle East to Asia to Africa.

Here are some of our favorites. They’re in honor of the 13th Annual National Commander’s Picnic, a celebration of duty and service that takes place for the US Army’s overseas soldiers every fall.

Turkey Pray, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Turkey Pray is a four-day event where troops gather at Fort Leavenworth and celebrate Thanksgiving in a secluded area on base. Families cook their own meals, learn how to make Thanksgiving turkey and decorate their own tables with holiday lights. There’s a motorcycle parade for outside fun, too.

Portrait of the Family, Fort Hood, Texas

A national draw for all troops is Thanksgiving at Fort Hood. Hundreds of servicemen and women from multiple states flock to the base for the annual photo shoot. Family members snap the photos and upload them to Facebook, where hundreds more families like theirs view them.

Spices and Treats, Ponce de Leon Air Force Base, Puerto Rico

Ponce de Leon Naval Base is a stop on many servicemen’s Christmas tours. The base holds its National Commander’s Picnic in the U.S. Virgin Islands for service members. Thanksgiving is celebrated with a Caribbean style lunch and a live Caribbean band. A regular visit includes tours of the base, among other attractions.

African-American Thanksgiving, Fort Riley, Kansas

Fort Riley is quite the feast: A city of 100,000 people in Kansas comes together for a Thanksgiving party that includes delicious food and live entertainment from local artists.

Military Picnic, Oquirrh Mountain Army Depot, Utah

Don’t expect to see Thanksgiving in Oquirrh Mountain Army Depot: There’s no real feast or even a ceremonial turkey, but a festive picnic with holiday cheer, from men and women from all branches of the military. “The significance is that we take the time to celebrate them and show them their holiday,” says Elaina Anderson, a sergeant and chaplain at the base. Anderson says this year’s picnic was especially large, with attendees ranging from New Jersey to Hawaii.

Afghanistan National Show, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

Last year, around 300 Afghan people from different clans and clans found out about the gathering from local news. “This is as though they came out of nowhere,” says Roman Kaplan, a visual officer with the Air Force’s Joint Cargo Force. It turns out they are home, where they were invited to mingle with soldiers for a holiday feast.

Turkey Trot, Camp Atterbury, Illinois

This Thanksgiving, Illinois troops come together to celebrate turkey, as well as the songs, dances and food of American Thanksgiving. The Army’s Command Center has a large tent — a perfect spot for the 300-person Thanksgiving gathering.

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