Military families ready for holiday trip

Olivia Elizarraras

December 8, 2009 9:17:56 PM PST
Dozens of military families in North Carolina are getting ready to take part in Operation Snowball Express. It's a chance for military families who've lost loved ones in the War on Terror to put the heartbreak aside for a little fun.

"I always think about it, but it kind of takes my mind off it knowing that we can still have fun," 13-year-old Olivia Elizarraras said.

She says she would trade a life time of Christmases just to see her dad again. Sgt. E. Z. Elizarraras died in combat in Afghanistan in 2006.

Wednesday, Olivia Elizarraras will meet thousands of other military children just like her.

"We just kind of know that we can relate to each other, because we don't have our dad, so like, we just kind of get along better," she said.

For the past four years, the families of troops killed in action have been treated to an all expense paid trip to Disneyland.

"It's just an opportunity for our kids to be around other children that have gone thru its experience, for them to see it's ok to have fun and laugh and be as normal as we can be." military widow Kris Elizarraras said.

This year they're headed to Texas for a four day trip to see the Dallas Cowboys and attend a rodeo.

The fun begins at the Fayetteville airport, when 125 families from across the state will board a special Snowball Express charter plane.

American Airlines provides the planes and the flight crews donate their time.

Andrew Elizarraras, 8, says he can't wait to see a bull and the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.

"I bet the ones are cute," he said.

About 1,300 military children and spouses from across the country are taking part in the holiday get-a-way.

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