Published: Nov 24, 2011 5:40 PM EST

ATLANTA (AP) - Volunteers at the USO at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta are among the first friendly faces greeting the thousands of servicemen and women returning from deployments across the globe, headed to or from basic training or just passing through.
    
The airport's USO is much busier this holiday season, as nearly 40,000 soldiers are returning to their families after President Barack Obama declared the war in Iraq will be over by year's end. The president vowed that all U.S. troops from that mission "will definitely be home for the holidays."
    
USO of Georgia President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Lou Austin says people are eager to volunteer to welcome the troops home this holidays season as a way to show their appreciation during the season of giving for those who have had multiple deployments to places like Iraq.

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