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The Strength Behind The Strong was founded by Christine Hofmann-Bourque, who is proud to have a husband in the Army, three brothers in the Navy and Army, and a sister-in-law in the Army. Christine is also a professional journalist. Read our first post to find out why this website is so close to her heart. More >>

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Fortune cookies bring good luck to military welcome-home parties

Here’s one trick for getting through loved ones’ deployments: Don’t count up how many days they’ve been gone. Instead count down the days until you can throw a welcome-home party. (During my husband’s first deployment, I spent the four months before his return obsessing over handmade party programs, bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers, and the 100-person guest list. Yes, I went a bit overboard. But it was all for a good cause!) A fabulous party favor? Fortune cookies with personalized, military-theme messages. 

Photograph of a fortune cookie, whose message reads: 'Confucius says: Hooah! Welcome back, Private Jones!' From fortune cookies can be filled with your own military-specific messages. You'll garner a few chuckles when you write “Confucius says” in front of just about any message.

Shop for these sweet treats online. A Google search for “custom fortune cookies” will locate dozens of online cookie companies. We are partial to Good Fortunes, Inc. (; we ordered cookies from them for a big bash, and they were a huge hit. They only make vanilla cookies, but they’re tasty and the traditional color works well with red-white-and-blue party schemes. Get 300 cookies with up to 17 different you-write-them fortunes for $40 plus shipping. (Want to try them first? They’ll send samples for $6, which includes shipping.)

Close-up of a fortune cookie, which reads: 'One, two, three, four. I don't know, but I've been told Private Jones has a heart of gold!' From cookies with personalized messages can be ordered online for welcome-home parties, military promotions, or any celebration.

Say what you need to say. Unleash your inner poet — and come up with heartwarming, funny, or inspirational fortunes — with these tips:

  • Get personal. Work the name of the guest of honor into as many messages as possible.

Lieutenant Smith’s greatest fortune is the large number of friends at this party.

Specialist Perez’s immediate future will be free of MREs, sand, and seven-day work weeks.

Private Jones is the real American Idol.
We missed you! 

Welcome home, Private Jones and all the heroes from the
1BCT, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York

  • Play off military cadences. Change up the words in cadence calls to write messages that are sure to enthrall.

One, two, three, four.
Glad you’re back on American shores! 

When you get to heaven, St. Peter he will say:
“Thank you for your service. Thank you for being brave.”

  • Use special dates. Work the month and year your loved one will arrive back in the States into a fortune. Or pick a meaningful date like a birthday or anniversary.

Lieutenant Smith’s lucky numbers
are: 12-26-2009.

  • Find inspiration in everyday life. Look for ideas on bumper stickers, in the lyrics of songs, and even on T-shirts.

Freedom is not free.
Thank you, Lieutenant Smith.

Welcome back, Private Jones, to spacious skies,
amber waves of grain,
and purple mountain majesties.

Photograph of a bowl of individually-wrapped fortune cookies. From from are individually wrapped in plastic. Pile them in prettty bowls so party guests have plenty of opportunities to pick a fortune or two.

Be short and sweet. For best readability, limit each message to two or three lines of 10 or so words each. Ask about word and character limits before ordering.  

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