Deployed airmen's creative family Christmas photo goes viral

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) Thousands of men and women, serving and fighting for our country all over the world, don't get to come home for the holidays.

Like so many families here in Colorado Springs, one particular family knows just how hard that can be.

Ashley Sistrunk says the holidays are tough without her husband. He also didn't get to come home to see three of his children born. This year, Ashley made sure they were all together in their Christmas card photo.

"Having a piece of your heart across the world, fighting for your country. It's just a whole other level of emotions," Sistrunk said.

Home is where the heart is. For Brandon Sistrunk, his heart is in Colorado Springs with his wife and four children.

Brandon is a staff sergeant in the Air Force, deployed in Iraq right now.

"We tell the kids, 'Yes, other kids have their daddy home right now.' But their daddy is out being a superhero, keeping our country safe and that's important ... that's an important job,” Ashley said.

Ashley hopes their Christmas card will give comfort to other military families: that they are not alone.

"You can feel mentally alone and emotionally alone even though you know that they'll come back and you pray that they'll come back. But hopefully them seeing that we're getting through it, they can get through it too,” Ashley said.

Ashley says the reaction from this photo on social media has been a little overwhelming.

"I'm going to try not to cry. Just reading some of the comments of, 'Oh that’s so cute,' but also people feeling our sadness in it. But then seeing that we’re trying to put a positive spin on the holidays even though he’s not here,” Sistrunk said.

Ashley says her husband wears the ranks and the military deserves the utmost respect.

But her family wears the silent ranks and she cannot wait for her husband to come home.