View Full Version : Clinging to Iraq-bound dad

Lisa 23
10-07-09, 01:15 PM
Mods, wasn't sure were to put this, so if it needs to be moved elsewhere, that's fine with me.
I thought that this was a very touching story.

Little Soldier Girl "Didn't Want to Let Go"

Four-year old Paige didn't want to say goodbye to her daddy before he was shipped off to Iraq.
This picture is sure to bring a tear to your eye. Abby Bennethum snapped this photo of her daughter Paige holding her dad's hand as he stood in formation at Fort Dix.

A family photo that shows a little girl beside her father and his fellow soldiers in uniform as they prepare to go to war has resonated well beyond the tight knit Bennethum clan.
Four-year-old Paige Bennethum really, really didn't want her daddy to go to Iraq.
So much so, that when Army Reservist Staff Sgt. Brett Bennethum lined up in formation at his deployment this July, she couldn't let go.
No one had the heart to pull her away.

The commanding officer allowed Paige to say goodbye as her dad prepared to ship off from Fort Dix.
Paige's mom Abby captured the moment with her camera and her aunt passed the image along to a Berks County, Pa. newspaper (http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=159986).
"I’ve had strangers looking me up online, sending me messages that they are touched by it ... offering a lot of support," Abby Bennethum told NBCPhiladelphia.
The picture took on a life of its own online this week. Abby says that suddenly, people were knocking on her door. "Literally overnight, there's all these people that just want to do anything they can," she says. Though she says her husband hasn't seen any stories about his family yet, he expects to.
For her part, Paige still remembers how she felt that day in July. Looking at the picture of herself – her dad now overseas – Paige remembers, "I didn't want to let go of him."
http://media.nbclocalmedia.com/images/little-girl-dad.jpg http://media.nbclocalmedia.com/images/little-girl-dad-mom.jpg

She calls the work he does transporting supplies across the Iraqi border, "just nice."
But that doesn't change her feelings.
"I just miss my dad right now," she says.
Sgt. Bennethum, 30, is expected home next July. Until then, Paige plans to help her mom take care of her little sister and a new baby that's on the way.


10-07-09, 01:25 PM
Great post LASWMarine, if you look at his right arm you'll see a patch. That means he has deployed before, wonder how may times this little girl has had to watch him leave? Then I wonder what it's going to be like when I get my orders to go.
Either way we must never forget to say a prayer for not only the men and women over there but for their loved ones as well.

10-07-09, 04:27 PM
Great pictures and following story. It is quite an emotional post.

Zulu 36
10-07-09, 04:49 PM
Great post, Lisa. BTDT. Makes for sweaty eyes.

I sent this to my oldest daughter and she said she burst into tears and cried for 15-minutes because it reminded her of when I went to Desert Storm (my girl was six-years old at the time). She said she wanted to run and get on the aircraft with me but her mom was holding her too tight.

My daughter is doing some man-days at her AF Reserve unit and when she suddenly started crying, people came from all over the building to see what was wrong and pretty soon the whole place was crying along too.

So, it's your fault a whole office full of Air Force medical people were useless for a half-hour. :D

10-07-09, 04:57 PM
I teared right up, Lisa.

Lisa 23
10-07-09, 06:39 PM
When I first saw this, I had tears in the eyes just looking at the little girl holding her daddy's hand, and I didn't even read the story yet.

10-08-09, 09:55 AM
Very touching post, it reminds me of the Father Daughter dance at Quantico two years ago, I took my at the time 6yr old. The Marine sitting at our table had his 7yr old. He got up to talk to a buddy while my daughter and his were talking, she told Miku that she is going to dance with her Daddy every song because he has to go back to war.

That just hit home.

10-10-09, 09:54 AM
I love stories like this. Tear jerkers.

10-10-09, 12:48 PM
LASWMarine, Osotogary, here. I want to let you know that that the picture of the little girl holding her father's hand, while he was in formation, really struck an emotional chord.. I was never been able to see my son off to any of his deployments, while he was active. The picture that you posted brought back sad memories, as well as, glorious ones.
Thank you, once again, for presenting this picture to Leatherneck.com. It elliminated all the bullsh*t that is associated with chain of command decisions and focused on what is really important to a little girl and her father. Thanks again.

Lisa 23
05-13-10, 05:30 PM
I know this thread hasn't been posted in in months, but there's an update on the dad....he's home!

Little Soldier Girl Welcomes Daddy Home

Family in popular photo reunite after father's tour in Iraq


Updated 2:05 PM EDT, Thu, May 13, 2010

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<!-- // nbc_print_icon \\ -->It was almost a year ago that Paige Bennethum's dad stood in formation, ready to leave Pennsylvania for the deserts of Iraq.

The little girl didn't want to let her daddy go, so she stood alongside him and the rest of the 733rd Army Reservist Division as her mother snapped a photo of her defiance.
That photo quickly stole the hearts of the nation. But while the picture reminded her of her dad's love, it was just that -- a picture.
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<!--end of storyInline div -->But that's all changed now, as Staff Sgt. Brett Bennethum has returned home for good.

"I like to have him back and its good," Paige said sitting with her daddy's arms wrapped around her.

Paige is excited to have her dad back so they can read books, play games and watch the Disney Princesses on his computer.

Brett also brought back the pink Care Bear Paige sent him to keep him company in the Middle East.

A year is a long time and Brett's family has changed since he's been gone.
"I can't believe how much she's grown," he said. "When I left, she was a lot more cuddly. Now she's a lot more teenagery."
It's not just Paige's size and attitude that's different. His younger daughter Lena has grown from a "potato" to a little girl and he now has baby Chase to raise.

"When I left, we kinda outnumbered them," Brett said. "It's a lot noisier."
Brett says he's glad to be home and credits his wife for keeping the family running while he defended our freedom.

"Without her I wouldn't be able to do what I do," he said.

For Abby, she's glad to have Brett home for many reasons – including the fact that getting in and out of the car with the kids will be infinitely easier. But she says it will take time to adjust.

"I had a system for everything…and whenever he's not doing things the way I've been doing them, I wind up going 'I have a system and you're messing it up,'" she joked.

As for that little photo that captured the real cost of war, the Bennethums say they're glad it could bring attention to the sacrifices that are made.

"We might not like to be away, but someone's gotta do it…and that's OK," Brett said.

"They do it because…there's a bigger picture," Abby added.
The photo can be found big and small inside the family's Lehigh Valley home. Paige wears the photo around her neck in a locket and a large version hangs on the living room wall – gifted to the family by oversize graphics company Fathead.

It's a constant reminder of how much every moment is worth.

"Now I'm always gonna remember that he's going to be back after work every day," Paige said.


Rocky C
05-13-10, 05:41 PM
Great Story with a Great Ending !!!