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Marine Sends Ice Statue Home for Christmas

Marine Sends Ice Statue Home for Christmas - A warm-hearted US Marine stationed Afghanistan couldn't come home for Christmas or his sister's birthday - so he stunned his family by sending them a towering ice block carved in his likeness instead.

The 7-foot-tall (2.13m) statue of 1st Lieutenant Neil Bucken holding an actual red rose arrived late Wednesday at his relatives' Staten Island home, a day before his 11-year-old sister's birthday, and in the nick of time for Christmas, the New York Post said.

Marine Sends Ice Statue Home for Christmas

"Half the family was all bawling their eyes out," said his mum, Donna McBrien, a physician who lives in Hawaii, but who returned to her native Staten Island for the holidays. "It was just amazing. It was very touching."

Bucken, 27, has been stationed in Afghanistan for nine months after joining the Marines more than two years ago, something his mum said he had always wanted to do.

The Xavier HS and University of Hawaii graduate has been home on leave only once so far.

He's been gone so long that his beloved sister, Sullivan has grown 10cm taller since he left.

While trying to figure out how to have a presence at home for Sullivan's birthday, as well as for Christmas, Bucken shifted from his initial idea of sending a statue to having an ice sculpture made.

The finishing touch was having a photo of him and his sister, both smiling in Honolulu, incased in the base of the giant sculpture.

Marine Sends Ice Statue Home for Christmas

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