Bittersweet holiday for Albany family - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bittersweet holiday for Albany family

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July 4, 2007

Albany - - For the first time, an Albany family is celebrating Independence Day without their son. Store Keeper 3rd Class Jim Williams, Jr. volunteered to go to Iraq earlier this year. His family didn't agree with the decision, but they support him. For them, this special day is all about him.

The grill is going. The laughs are ever-present. But one face is missing.

"It's sad he's not here. Were normally together on his birthday." says Susie Williams, Jim's mother.

That's right. Store Keeper 3rd Class Jim Williams Jr. turned 24 this Independence Day. His family celebrates without him but in honor of him.

"I didn't feel as much as anxiety as we do now with him being on land," his father Jim Williams, Sr. says.

Being in the navy, Williams has had several visits overseas. This is the first time he's been deployed to Iraq.

In January, We showed you the family's bittersweet celebration for Williams at the end of January. Williams was adamant about his decision to serve his country and saw this as his opportunity.

"Since he's been there we've accepted it, we've adapted to it," his father says.

A lot has happened since then. Williams has a newborn niece, Christian, he's never seen.

"When he left going to Iraq, she was born the same day that he left going," his mother says.

Until the day, they can all be united, Williams' family keeps him in their prayers.

"That he remains safe and not only him, but I pray for all our men and women that's over there in that land and I certainly hope and pray that we can soon come to a conclusion on it and I hope we can have a peaceful resolution," his father says.

Because that's the very reason his boy is over there in the first place. 

There aren't many members of the Navy in Iraq but Williams volunteered to serve on the ground there. His family says they communicate with him two or three times a week by telephone and e-mail.

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