Fort Benning, Ga. — Hundreds of thousands of U.S. military personnel are serving in every corner of the world this Christmas. They can't be home for the holidays but a bit of home has come to them.
Across the country, a $25 dollar donation to a program called "Trees for Troops" can buy a tree for a military family. This season, nearly 17,000 trees were delivered to 71 military bases from Guam to Fort Benning in Georgia, where excited families lined up to see their trees arrive.
Each has a message, many written by donors, one said, "Thank you for your bravery."
Sgt. Tyler Power is back from Afghanistan, where some of his comrades were killed. "This war has gone on for a long time, so I think over time, people kind of get numb to it," he said.
Retired Sgt. Marvin Hill now works at FedEx overseeing the deliveries. He was inspired by the tree he once got while serving in Afghanistan. "It's the thing that keeps you going, it's a taste of home," Hill said.
Abby Reyes, 7, led her brother Noah and mom Heather to a tree so perfect it left her speechless. The tag had a candy cane, a tree and a message. Her dad, Patrick, is an infantry staff sergeant at Fort Benning.
The ornaments are all special: family gifts or places they have visited. When they topped this year's tree, they added one special ornament about a gift from those who remember to those who served: a note that said, "Thank you!"