BOSTON (CBS) – For military families, the end of the Iraq War the best possible holiday gift.

It’s especially good news for a local woman whose brother joined the army in memory of a family member killed on 9/11.

Debbie Gordenstein’s baby brother, 21-year-old Ari Cabot-Booras, is serving his first tour of duty in Iraq.

“I talked to him last week on Facebook and I talked to my dad, who speaks to him on Skype everyday. They kinda knew, but until you actually hear it, I guess you don’t exhale,” said Debbie Gordenstein’s.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

The Hull native just left in June, and the thought he could be back by Christmas seemed almost unreal.

“You know, there’s still time. He’s going to be there so you never sleep easy. So to know that he’s going to be home is great,” said Debbie.

Ari has his sights set on a job as a Massachusetts state trooper, but defending his country has been a goal for long time, too.

“We’re actually a 9/11 family. My husband lost his first wife on the first plane, so we’ve always had a hyper-awareness of 9/11 in my immediate family,” said Debbie.

Nick Murphy is Ari’s nephew. Though they’re so close in age, he said he feels more like a brother.

“I definitely worry about his safety because anything can happen. It’s pretty rough. But, he’s a tough guy. I think he’ll be all right,” said Murphy.

Ari is stationed at Fort Hood in Texas.

His family said once he gets back to the U.S., he’ll go there, and then hopefully have a 20-day leave back home.

More than 4,400 U.S. service members have died in the Iraq War, and 92 were from Massachusetts.


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