Thousands Struggle Through Holidays Without Relatives

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - For many families living near Fort Campbell, the one Christmas gift they wished for won't be coming true: having soldiers home for the holidays.

The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell is now serving its third deployment since 2003.

About 11,000 soldiers have been deployed since August and another 8,000 will deploy to Afghanistan after the first of the new year.

Some military families can't celebrate Christmas like others. When loved ones are putting their lives at risk every day, happiness doesn't come easily.

Northeast High School senior Tiffany Ludka says without her stepfather home, there's no point in celebrating Christmas this year.

But Maria Becker, whose husband is serving a second tour of duty in Iraq, said she keeps the traditions of Christmas for the sake of her two sons.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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