Memorable dates like birthdays, Christmas, and Halloween bring a family together. This is a time to bond, act silly, and simply create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. For the brave men and women who serve in the military, they often miss these special days.
It is a sacrifice shared by the families who stay home and know there is an empty seat waiting at the table. On September 20th, Al Clendennin received notification he was going to be deployed a second time to Afghanistan. That meant Al would miss Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and his birthday.
His wife Cathy Clendennin and their three kids Alby, 16; Olivia, 15; and Owen, 13, had other plans. The U.S. Air Force man will be away for approximately 100 days and his family wanted to make sure he was part of every celebration and holiday.
The dad was welcomed inside to the song "The Nightmare Before Christmas," playing in the background. They donned on their costumes and watched a horror movie, a family tradition. This year's film choice was The Conjuring 2.
Al received a laptop so he could keep in touch while he is overseas.
"When Al woke up and came downstairs, he was so excited — like a little boy on Christmas morning," says Cathy of her husband's reaction. He was gifted a heated blanket, DVD player, and chocolate liquors.
It was perfect timing as the family traditionally watches the Detroit Lions game during this festive date. It so happened that there was a game on that day.
"I'm so happy we decided to do this. It's going to be a weekend we'll never forget," explains Cathy.