KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Our military and their families make great sacrifices to keep us all safe. For families and friends left behind the holidays can trying times.

This story is about the 109th field artillery and their time away from northeastern Pennsylvania from Luzerne County 17 years ago.

The holidays can be a tough time, particularly for military families. We went to our library in 2004 and have this story from the Kingston Armory.

“Marking the one-year anniversary of the day 300 soldiers from the 109th field artillery left for Iraq is emotional but it’s also meant to be inspiring,”

“We wanted to have something to remind us how far we’ve come and also keep them in our prayers,” said Heather Nealon whose fiance served overseas.

“The audience sang songs listened to a poem written by a guardsman’s family and watched with tears as they saw their soldiers’ in this slide show. A candle was lit for each member of the 109th currently overseas as well as for their fellow soldier Sherwood baker who died in Baghdad in April,”

“Whose memory I’m sure is never far from the hearts of his comrades as it is from his family as I’m sure it is for all of us so in their memory I’m proud to light this candle.”

“Coming together at gatherings and ceremonies like this one over the past year, have helped these loved ones learn to lean on each other,” said Major Kevin Miller 109th Field Artillery.

“The more people together at the same time, the better it is. Everyone’s feeling the same thing, everyone understands what we’re going through,” said Renee Koepke.

“As Renee Koepke is missing her husband, Chelsea Clocker is missing her dad,”

“I play a lot of sports and my mom doesn’t know anything about them basically so I kind of have to figure things out on my own,” said Chelsea Clocker whose father was serving overseas.

From all of us here at Eyewitness News we salute all our military and are grateful for the great sacrifice that they and their families go through to keep us all safe.