For every person serving in our nation’s military, there is a loving family left-behind. Whether it be mom and dad, or wife, or husband, or kids, the absence is felt deeply within their hearts. The sadness that they experience during their loved one’s deployment can be matched only by the complete and utter joy that is felt upon their return! And there is nothing more precious than when a son, daughter, wife, husband, mom, or dad is taken by complete surprise when their service person suddenly and magically appears.
The absence-time is significant. Most deployments last six months or more. In fact, according to government statistics, “The average length of deployment was 7.7 months—from an average of 4.5 months in the Air Force to an average of 9.4 months in the Army. The average cumulative length of deployments of multiple deployers was 16.9 months. The average dwell time between deployments was 21 months.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK206861/)
A lot can happen in 7.7 months. A known-pregnancy can be completed, resulting in a new baby whose father cannot be present for its birth. Birthdays and holidays pass. Dance recitals, ball games, and swim meets happen. Yes, life must go on, but nothing is quite the same when loved ones are gone. Not only are they missing out on many of life’s events and occasions, but they are also in harm’s way during the time they are gone. Yes, absence can make the heart grow fonder, but not without leaving tiny little battle scars on the hearts of loved ones who are missing them during the time apart.
As an American, I am extremely proud of and grateful for each and every person who is willing to set aside his or her own plans to take on the noble cause of serving our nation. As these brave warriors leave the comfort and stability of their own families, we extend to them our prayers and sincere gratitude for their selfless service. To protect and preserve our comfort and freedom, they sacrifice their own - and that of their loved ones.
To honor the selfless acts of our service people and their families, we want to share with you a compilation of the joyous reunions of some of these service people and their families. Even more spectacular is the fact that none of the families is aware that their loved one is back. As we look in on these intensely private and emotional moments - taking place in highly public settings - we catch a glimpse of just how deeply the pain of absence is felt.
As I watched the video, below, I found myself caught between laughter and tears, vicariously sharing in the deep emotions that the reuniting loved ones are obviously experiencing. Enjoy!