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AP PHOTOS: Romania, Santa aid kids of dead, wounded soldiers

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              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a man wearing a Santa Claus outfit speaks to 19 month old Maya during a Christmas show for childr...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo taken with a slow shutter speed, 3 year old Nicole pushes her present box, after a Christmas show ...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy, his face painted with a Spiderman mask, stands behind chairs during a Christmas show for c...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a man wearing a Santa Claus outfit speaks to children of Romanian military families during a Chri...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, Maya, 19 months-old, sleeps in her father's arms during a Christmas show for children of Romanian...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 3 year old Nicole holds on to her present during a Christmas show for children of Romanian milita...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a woman holds a baby during a Christmas show for children of Romanian military families, in Bucha...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a girl holds a heart shaped balloon during a Christmas show for children of Romanian military fam...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a woman holds a child with a painted face mask during a Christmas show for children of Romanian m...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 3 year old Nicole lays on top of her present box during a Christmas show for children of Romanian...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 6 year old Robert poses with balloons shaped to resemble a weapon during a Christmas show for chi...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 19 month old Maya sleeps in her mother's arms after a Christmas show for children of Romanian mil...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, picture, a baby is placed next to a Christmas tree after a Christmas show for children of Romanian mili...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a girl holds her present after a Christmas show for children of Romanian military families, in Bu...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy lays on the floor and holds balloons shaped to resemble a weapon while playing with other c...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 19 month old Maya is held by a performer while her mother photographs her next to a man wearing a...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy sits in an chair after a Christmas show for children of Romanian military families, in Buch...

              In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy, his face painted with a Spiderman mask, observes the hall from behind chairs after a Chris...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a man wearing a Santa Claus outfit speaks to 19 month old Maya during a Christmas show for childr...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo taken with a slow shutter speed, 3 year old Nicole pushes her present box, after a Christmas show ...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy, his face painted with a Spiderman mask, stands behind chairs during a Christmas show for c...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a man wearing a Santa Claus outfit speaks to children of Romanian military families during a Chri...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, Maya, 19 months-old, sleeps in her father's arms during a Christmas show for children of Romanian...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 3 year old Nicole holds on to her present during a Christmas show for children of Romanian milita...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a woman holds a baby during a Christmas show for children of Romanian military families, in Bucha...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a girl holds a heart shaped balloon during a Christmas show for children of Romanian military fam...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a woman holds a child with a painted face mask during a Christmas show for children of Romanian m...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 3 year old Nicole lays on top of her present box during a Christmas show for children of Romanian...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 6 year old Robert poses with balloons shaped to resemble a weapon during a Christmas show for chi...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 19 month old Maya sleeps in her mother's arms after a Christmas show for children of Romanian mil...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, picture, a baby is placed next to a Christmas tree after a Christmas show for children of Romanian mili...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a girl holds her present after a Christmas show for children of Romanian military families, in Bu...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy lays on the floor and holds balloons shaped to resemble a weapon while playing with other c...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, 19 month old Maya is held by a performer while her mother photographs her next to a man wearing a...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy sits in an chair after a Christmas show for children of Romanian military families, in Buch...

In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 photo, a boy, his face painted with a Spiderman mask, observes the hall from behind chairs after a Chris...

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The children have lost their fathers or seen them come home bearing terrible wounds of war.

But for at least one day, Romania's defense ministry and Santa Claus were able to bring fleeting smiles to the faces of all.

This month's Christmas party at the grand Palace of the National Military Circle in Bucharest brought together the sons and daughters of Romanian soldiers who were slain or wounded while on peacekeeping missions overseas. The defense ministry says Romania has lost 28 soldiers, all but three of them while on duty in Afghanistan, and another 160 have been wounded.

The Dec. 13 gathering of about 50 children, accompanied by their mothers, relatives or other adult minders, involved the unwrapping of surprises and jovial chats involving Santa and a fairy princess.

Older children had their faces painted, while many babies and toddlers came dressed up as mini-Santas or as one of his elves.

Some kids fought make-believe gun battles with balloon toys, while others turned the large-scale packages left under the Christmas tree into carpet-racing playthings of their own.

It all proved too exciting for at least one boy who ended up snoozing soundly on that same carpet.

This selection of images from the day captures the fun, beauty and lingering sadness displayed by some of the young ones.