American Heroes: The Soldiers You Love
HUGS & KISSES
"My husband, Greg was deployed earlier this year.," writes Lisa Boland of Sumter, S.C. "My daughter Rylie, 7 months at the time, and I sent Pooh Bear with him in his bags [with a note] saying, "Daddy, I have Mommy to keep me company and give me hugs, and you don't have anyone, so here is my Pooh Bear. Hug him when you get lonely or miss us, and remember we love you!' " And he did – with the picture to prove it!
"It just broke my heart to see our son Daron so sad because his dad, whom he looked up to and loved so much was going away once again" to Iraq, writes Pamela Webb of Fort Bragg, N.C. Her husband Varon "and the rest of the soldiers who are fighting in this dangerous war overseas are truly our American heroes."
"My son, Thomas, is always asking me to send him candy, pencils, etc. so that he can give them to the children in Iraq," writes Elva Ybarra of Lake Dallas, Texas. And the soldier, who's on his second tour of Iraq, is the new father of a baby girl, whom he has yet to meet. "He has sacrificed so much for our country. We very proud of our son."
WITH LOVE, FROM IRAQ
Heather O'Neal of Adairsville, Ga., calls husband Christopher – who's dad to their four kids – her "American hero." The U.S. army sergeant sent his love to his family from Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, and she's returning the favor: "We love our soldier!"
"Military families make sacrifices that only other military families can understand," writes Melissa McPike of Savannah, Ga. With daughter Kailey, 3, she saw off husband Chad, a Blackhawk pilot, in January as he left to finish a 15-month tour in Iraq. "The tears in Kailey's eyes give a glimpse to the pain in not only her heart, but the hearts of all children that have to say goodbye to their daddies for so long."
Angie Derring of Fayetteville, N.C., has nothing but praise – and awe – for her husband Ricky, who was deployed as part of the American Special Forces in Afghanistan. "My husband has had to endure a lot," she writes, including losing friends and seeing others injured. So when he sent back a photo of himself working alongside Prince Harry, she had to share – and say "thank you!"