Families Awaiting Troops’ Return

STATELINE (WIFR) -- One issue expected to come up tonight in the President’s State of the Union Address that both Republicans and Democrats can see eye to eye is the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan. Tonight, the president is expected to announce 34,000 troops will come home over the next year. We met up with one family who is anxiously awaiting their son’s return.

"You just hope and pray, that he's in God's hands and you just hope and pray that he comes home safe.”

Kris and Rex Sommer count down the days until their 20-year-old son Jeffrey returns from his army deployment in Afghanistan.

"I try not to dwell too much on where he is and what he's doing. He's my son, I miss him and some time he knows he will be done and he will be home. And that's how I look at it,” said Kris Sommer.

Jeffrey is one of the 34,000 American troops in Afghanistan expected to come home within the year. His parents say they talk with Jeffrey on the phone several times a week, but they are constantly thinking about his safety.

"I believe all parents worry about them being over there. Definitely worry about him all the time,” Rex Sommer said.

Over the years, John Groh and the Vietnam Veterans of America Rockford chapter have welcomed nearly 25,000 returning troops whose planes have landed at the Rockford Airport.

"Well I think it's a good feeling for them. You know, being back in the States. Says a lot. You're finally home,” said Groh.

Kris Sommer hopes her proud, crying face is the first her son sees when his plane touches down in August.

66,000 American troops are stationed in Afghanistan. There are about 34,000 international troops there too. The President hopes to have half of the American Troops home by this time next year.

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