Little Girl Welcomes Soldier Father Home

Filed under: In The News

Paige Bennethum's dad is back from Iraq. Credit: Abby Bennethum

Remember this photo of the adorable little girl who refused to let go of her daddy's hand before he left for Iraq?

The photo, which represents the true cost of war, quickly gained nationwide attention, NBC Philadelphia reports. But this story has a happy ending, now that Paige Bennethum's dad, Staff Sgt. Brett Bennethum, has returned from Iraq.

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Bennethum says a lot has changed in the year that he was away. "I can't believe how much she's grown," he says of Paige. "When I left, she was a lot more cuddly. Now she's a lot more teenagery."

He says he thanks his wife, Abby, for caring for Paige and their two other children, Lena and Chase, while he was in Iraq.

"I had a system for everything...and whenever he's not doing things the way I've been doing them, I wind up going 'I have a system and you're messing it up,'" she jokes.

Abby snapped the famous photo, which hangs throughout the family's home and around Paige's neck in a locket, NBC Philadelphia reports.

"Now I'm always gonna remember that he's going to be back after work every day," Paige says.

Related: Little Girl Can't Let go as Sergeant Daddy Leaves For Iraq

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.