Military Families Face Another Holiday Without Loved Ones

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Good Friday means many take off work. Others leave home bound for a spring break destination. But a lot of families begin another holiday celebration with a service member in Iraq or abroad elsewhere.

"We're gonna tie a big red bow on her," Chris Lowrey says of her son's 3-month-old puppy.

Her name is Daisy, and she is a belated Christmas gift for one family's hero who has missed plenty of holidays. "Thanksgiving, Christmas ... all of them ... New Years," Lowrey says.

Chris Lowrey even missed her son's 24th birthday back in October.
Lowrey says, "we have never missed a birthday. We're kind of holiday-oriented around here and celebration-oriented."

But this weekend the family of Lance Corporal William Magnuson will celebrate another holiday without him.

"The one good thing this Easter, I know he'll get a decent meal because where they are right now, they're somewhere in Northern Iraq, and they're actually feeding them and they're getting hot meals," Lowrey says.

B.J., as he's known around here, is a Marine. "They've done a lot of patrolling. He's talked about the different people in the towns that they meet and how they handle situations and stuff," Lowrey says.

At home, B.J.'s family handles holiday after holiday without him, with slightly less celebration than in years past. His sister, Elisa, says, "obviously we miss B.J., but it also takes a toll on our celebration. It's hard because feel like, we're here 'hi'."

B.J. left behind a number of siblings. A virtual photo album sent from Iraq is the closest family can get to him these days, besides the occasional phone call. "This is a little better holiday for us because we know he's coming home," Lowrey says.

B.J. is expected back in early April. Lowrey encourages people to contribute for a Marine memorial in Madison. The Marine Corps League is taking donations for the bronze sculpture.

An hour-long special on the Making of a Marine airs Tuesday at seven o'clock on NBC 15.

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