Soldier's Mom Has Mixed Emotions Toward Holiday Greeting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/1/04-Mt. Pleasant

Soldier's Mom Has Mixed Emotions Toward Holiday Greeting

Since the holiday season began, we've received a slew of holiday video greetings from our military overseas. Last week, we showed our first greeting to an East Texas soldier's family. That day, we received three phone calls from another soldier's mother, desperately wanting to see her son. We went to the family's home, showed them the tape, and got a surprising reaction.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Johnson hasn't been home for the holidays since Christmas 2000. He's been aboard the USS John F. Kennedy, now involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It has been four tearful and fearful years for the 22-year-old's family, including three generations of women who miss their grandson, son, and younger brother.

"Just having presents around the tree for him and he's not there to open his presents or just do anything with him," Marilyn, his mom, said.

Enough talk about missing Justin, Mom was so anxious to see him, she couldn't sit still.

"I just want to see it," she said. "Yeah, let's get it going."

"Hello, everybody, this is SK3 Johnson, stationed on the VAQ 132 for departing on the John F. Kennedy," Justin said on the videotape. "Want to say a shout-out to my family in Mt. Pleasant, TX. I love y'all. Happy holiday."

"He gained probably at least 30 or 40 pounds. My!" Charity Jeffery, Justin's older sister, said.

While Big Sis was caught up with Justin's weight, Mom couldn't get over one thing missing from Justin's greeting.

"Why didn't you say 'Hi, Mom'?" she said. "Forget about everybody else. Mom is more important, ok, 'cause Mom is crying at night for her baby. I wanted to start crying. I was so happy. I just wish he could come out and give me a big hug. Wouldn't that be great? Can y'all make that happen?"

Unfortunately, we couldn't, but we did leave them the tape.

"I'm going to watch it over and over and over," Marilyn said. "Yeah!"

"He wants to be here," Jeffery said. "He has a longing to be here."

"Hope that he stays safe, that he makes it back home safe," Marilyn said. "And everybody on the ship. Not only him, but everyone has a safe trip back. And just do your job and just know we're here praying for you. And God, most of all, I love you so much. I want to see you. God, that's a wrap."

And that's a wrap for us, too.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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