CAPE CORAL, Fla. - As the U.S. reaches the 10-year mark of fighting in Afghanistan, military families in Southwest Florida reflect on the past decade and what it means to them.
Friday afternoon, family members of Spc. Michael Araujo hung banners to welcome the Cape Coral man home, but for them, this homecoming was different.
In 2009, Araujo lost his leg and nearly died from a roadside bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. On the day marking ten years of fighting overseas, he got his medical discharge papers, bringing his time in the active military to an end.
His father Tyler Araujo is glad his son's fight overseas is over but cannot believe a decade has passed since the war started.
"I didn't even think it was ten years ago. I didn't really think about anything being that long," Tyler Araujo says.
Mary Zizzamia is the mother of U.S. Marine Christopher Kellner, and says her son has been enlisted for more than 9 years, almost as long as the fighting has been going on.
"It doesn't look like it's ever going away. I think it's something we've pretty much accepted like anything else in life," Zizzamia says.
Kellnor has done two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, and just a few weeks ago his family welcomed him home.
Zizzamia expects he will not be deployed again for at least three years, but her joy to have him back does not erase her thoughts and prayers for those still serving.
"We think about the ones that are still out there, and how much longer do they have before they get to be in the same spot?" she says.