This December, the final 8,000 military personnel in Iraq will be coming home for the holidays as the eight-year military operation in the country comes to a close. But for many more military families with relatives in Afghanistan, the season will be difficult.
From the National Archives' Text Message blog, the following letter illustrates what decades of military families have felt this time of year. In December 1969, six-year-old Shannon Hensley addresses her father's commanding officer, asking, "Will you please let my daddy come home for Christmas?"
The officer replied with a promise: "Your father, Shannon, will not be home for Christmas this year, but will serve for you and his country on Christmas Day, in hopes that you, your mother and two sisters, will never have to spend another Christmas alone--without your daddy."
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Brian Resnick is a former staff correspondent at National Journal and a former producer of The Atlantic's National channel.