With the troops for Thanksgiving through the years (PHOTOS)

Servicemembers throughout the centuries unable to return home for the holiday have found a way to keep the tradition alive while deployed.

Thanksgiving dates back to the 1620s and President George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide celebration in 1789. The event has a special place in the hearts of those in uniform missing their family and has been documented extensively over the years.

"Thanksgiving in camp" sketched Thursday 28th November 1861 by Alfred Waud (Photo: Library of Congress)

“Thanksgiving in camp” sketched Thursday 28th November 1861 by Alfred Waud (Photo: Library of Congress)

Drawing by combat artist Winslow Homer, showing happy Union soldiers of the 16th Maine Infantry celebrating the Thanksgiving of 1862 during the Civil War. (Photo: Library of Congress)

Drawing by combat artist Winslow Homer, showing happy Union soldiers of the 16th Maine Infantry celebrating the Thanksgiving of 1862 during the Civil War. (Photo: Library of Congress)

USS Charleston Thanksgiving Day celebrations on board in November 1893, at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

USS Charleston: Thanksgiving Day celebrations on board in November 1893, at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

USS Hartford Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 1903 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

USS Hartford Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 1903 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Joseph Christian Leyendecker saturday evening post cover thanksgiving nov 30 1918 doughboy turkey great war 1903 m1917 brodie helmet

Joseph Christian Leyendecker’s Saturday Evening Post cover for Thanksgiving 1918, complete with a Doughboy, turkey, M1903 and Brodie helmet

"American soldier in ward of American Military Hospital No. 1 at Neuilly, (supported by the American Red Cross) enjoying his Thanksgiving turkey" November 1918 (Photo: Library of Congress)

“American soldier in ward of American Military Hospital No. 1 at Neuilly, supported by the American Red Cross, enjoying his Thanksgiving turkey” November 1918 (Photo: Library of Congress)

Soldiers stop for a photo at then-Camp McCoy prior to a Thanksgiving dinner at the installation in November 1937. (Photo: Department of Defense)

Soldiers stop for a photo at then-Camp McCoy prior to a Thanksgiving dinner at the installation in November 1937. (Photo: Department of Defense)

After receiving permission from the farm owner, these men, attached to an airbase at Norfolk, England, invade a turkey pen to choose their annual turkey day repast. The turkeys were given to the men for their Thanksgiving dinners”, November 6, 1943 (Photo: National Archives)

“After receiving permission from the farm owner, these men, attached to an airbase at Norfolk, England, invade a turkey pen to choose their annual turkey day repast. The turkeys were given to the men for their Thanksgiving dinners”, November 6, 1943 (Photo: National Archives)

USS Santa Fe (CL-60) crewmembers attend Thanksgiving Day services on the ship's after deck under a 6" gun turret, probably during the Gilberts campaign in November 1943 (Photo: National Archives)

USS Santa Fe (CL-60) crewmembers attend Thanksgiving Day services on the ship’s after deck under a 6″ gun turret, probably during the Gilberts campaign in November 1943 (Photo: National Archives)

Roster and Dinner Menu, Company B, 265th Engineer Combat Battalion, 65th Infantry, Camp Shelby, Mississippii 1944

Roster and Dinner Menu, Company B, 265th Engineer Combat Battalion, 65th Infantry, Camp Shelby, Mississippi 1944

1944 Thanksgiving Dinner menu, Amphibious Training Center - Tulagi, Solomon Islands - November 1944 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

1944 Thanksgiving Dinner menu, Amphibious Training Center – Tulagi, Solomon Islands – November 1944 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

"Photograph. '22 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30207. Fifth Army, San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. Thanksgiving chow went as far forward as there were troops. Sgt. Frank Shiborski, 107 AAA Group, from 5007 Central Ave, Detroit, Mich.[Michigan] A 50 Cal. Machine gunner, takes time out from looking for Germans to do a little special duty on a 'drum stick.' Photo by Edwards. 3131 Signal Service Co.' San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. 22 November 1944" (Photo: National WWII Museum)

“Photograph. ’22 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30207. Fifth Army, San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. Thanksgiving chow went as far forward as there were troops. Sgt. Frank Shiborski, 107 AAA Group, from 5007 Central Ave, Detroit, Mich.[Michigan] A 50 Cal. Machine gunner takes time out from looking for Germans to do a little special duty on a ‘drum stick.’ Photo by Edwards. 3131 Signal Service Co.’ San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. 22 November 1944” (Photo: National WWII Museum)

"Photograph. '22 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30206. Fifth Army, San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. Pvt. Frederick A. Adcock, 107 AAA Group, from 2063 Hatch St., Benton Harbor, Mich. [Michigan], a Fifth Army infantryman, seems to enjoy his task as he goes to work on a mess kit of thanksgiving chow of which turkey was the main course. Photo by Edwards. 3131 Signal Service Co.' San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. 22 November 1944" (Photo: National WWII Museum)

“Photograph. ’22 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-30206. Fifth Army, San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. Pvt. Frederick A. Adcock, 107 AAA Group, from 2063 Hatch St., Benton Harbor, Mich. [Michigan], a Fifth Army infantryman, seems to enjoy his task as he goes to work on a mess kit of thanksgiving chow of which turkey was the main course. Photo by Edwards. 3131 Signal Service Co.’ San Marcello Pistoiese Area, Italy. 22 November 1944” (Photo: National WWII Museum)

"Photograph. '17 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-6887. Fifth Army, San Benedetto Area, Italy. T/5 Wm. [William] Fleming, Austin, Minn. [Minnesota], eating turkey leg. Photo by Schmidt. 3131 Signal Service Co.' San Benedetto Area, Italy. 17 November 1944" (Photo: National WWII Museum)

“Photograph. ’17 Nov 44. 5/MM-44-6887. Fifth Army, San Benedetto Area, Italy. T/5 Wm. [William] Fleming, Austin, Minn. [Minnesota], eating a turkey leg. Photo by Schmidt. 3131 Signal Service Co.’ San Benedetto Area, Italy. 17 November 1944” (Photo: National WWII Museum)

Firing up the trusty M1937 field kitchen, the Army way

Firing up the trusty M1937 field kitchen, the Army way

Admiral William F. Halsey, Commander, Third Fleet (left center) eats Thanksgiving dinner with the crew of his flagship, USS New Jersey (BB-62), 30 November 1944. (Photo: National Archives)

Admiral William F. Halsey, Commander, Third Fleet (left center) eats Thanksgiving dinner with the crew of his flagship, USS New Jersey (BB-62), 30 November 1944. (Photo: National Archives)

Thanksgiving in Korea

Thanksgiving in Korea

“Marine Lance Corporal Douglas E. Parker (Portland, Oregon), of F Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, tears into a hefty drumstick while enjoying a real home-style Thanksgiving dinner. Marines throughout Vietnam were served a full course turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day”, November 25, 1965 (Photo: National Archives)

“Marine Lance Corporal Douglas E. Parker (Portland, Oregon), of F Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, tears into a hefty drumstick while enjoying a real home-style Thanksgiving dinner. Marines throughout Vietnam were served a full course turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day”, November 25, 1965 (Photo: National Archives)

"Marines of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion hold up a tiger skin that belonged to a tiger they killed on Thanksgiving Day during a five day patrol. From left to right: Lance Corporal James Ortega, Lance Corporal Thomas L. Little, and Sergeant James L. Griffith." November 1967 (Photo: USMC)

“Marines of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion hold up a tiger skin that belonged to a tiger they killed on Thanksgiving Day during a five-day patrol. From left to right: Lance Corporal James Ortega, Lance Corporal Thomas L. Little, and Sergeant James L. Griffith.” November 1967 (Photo: USMC)

"The hood of a jeep serves as a makeshift altar as Commander Martin J. Doermann (North Kingston, R.I.) Twelfth Marine Regimental Chaplain, holds Thanksgiving Day services at Gio Linh, south of the Demilitarized Zone. The chaplain was one of a score of 3d Marine Division chaplains that visited Marine units in the field as Marines observed Thanksgiving Day in Vietnam." November 1968 (Photo: USMC)

“The hood of a jeep serves as a makeshift altar as Commander Martin J. Doermann (North Kingston, R.I.) Twelfth Marine Regimental Chaplain, holds Thanksgiving Day services at Gio Linh, south of the Demilitarized Zone. The chaplain was one of a score of 3d Marine Division chaplains that visited Marine units in the field as Marines observed Thanksgiving Day in Vietnam.” November 1968 (Photo: USMC)

"South Vietnam, November, 1967 SSG Raymond Scherz of Addison, Ill., C Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division's Thanksgiving dinner at the nearby Bear Cat base camp"

“South Vietnam, November 1967 SSG Raymond Scherz of Addison, Ill., C Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division’s Thanksgiving dinner at the nearby Bear Cat base camp”

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The Thanksgiving Day Parade at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, 2009 (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

The Thanksgiving Day Parade at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, 2009 (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

More from Bagram

More from Bagram

A turkey gets carved for USS Nimitz' (CVN 68) Thanksgiving meal, Nov. 2015 (Photo: Department of Defense)

A turkey gets carved for USS Nimitz’ (CVN 68) Thanksgiving meal, Nov. 2015 (Photo: Department of Defense)

"U.S. Army leadership assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division serve their Soldiers a Thanksgiving meal at Tactical Assembly Area Shaquli in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq, Nov. 24, 2016" (Photo: Department of Defense)

“U.S. Army leadership assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division serve their Soldiers a Thanksgiving meal at Tactical Assembly Area Shaquli in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Iraq, Nov. 24, 2016” (Photo: Department of Defense)