A soldier's going away party is a time for family and friends to gather to wish the person well and give him a special time to reminisce and socialize with loved ones. Whether the soldier is being shipped overseas or will be stationed somewhere in the States, it is still a time of togetherness and camaraderie for the entire group.
Parties can be held anywhere but the very best place for a soldier's going away party is in the comfort and familiarity of his own home. Surrounded by loving well-wishers in an environment where he feels safe and secure before heading out to the uncertainty of serving his country is the most thoughtful way to send him off. If a larger venue is needed, the family church reception hall or favorite park are appropriate alternatives.
Guests should include all those important to the soldier in his lifetime. Neighbors, friends, former teachers, pastors, teachers, relatives and others who have touched his life in some way should be included in the event. Encourage everyone to bring a small photo or token of their relationship to the function and make a display at the entrance of the party for all to enjoy.
If the soldier is going overseas, select American foods for her to enjoy. It may be a long time before she can eat some of the dishes, so keep the party stocked with fare such as fried chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, steak, fries and apple pie and ice cream. If the soldier is remaining in the States, choose all of her favorite foods no matter what they are. Let her enjoy the childhood and current foods she likes best before she leaves for military duty. It will make the occasion extra memorable and personal for her. If the budget is tight, ask guests to bring potluck dishes with some significance to their relationship with the guest of honor.
Purchase a guest book for family and friends to sign as they arrive -- choose one with space for the guests to make personal notes and provide encouraging comments for the soldier. Be sure to assign someone to film the party and take random photos to help remember the occasion. Before the end of the event, be sure to take a group picture of the soldier with all the guests, if possible. Scatter disposable cameras around the party location so all guests can assist in taking pictures for future reference.
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