7 Emotional Military Homecomings That'll Have You Reaching For The Tissues

Warning: There will be tears.

Veteran's Day 2017 is still about two weeks away, but to prepare for the November 11 holiday that honors those who served and are serving in the United States Armed Forces, we've compiled a list of seven emotional military homecomings and reunions to remind you that the occasion is so much more than a day off from work or school.

It's important to keep in mind the men and women who put their lives on the line all over the world to defend our country are at the heart of this federal holiday. Even though recent months have seen the troops dragged into spirited debates about what it means to be a patriot and how to respect the American flag, let's take a step back and remember all the men and women in the armed forces sacrifice on a daily basis to keep us safe.

Grab a box (or two, or three) of tissues and watch the heartwarming homecomings below.



1. Not one, but two surprises.

When this National Guardsman returned from a 7-month tour in Afghanistan, he first surprised his stepdaughter, Ally Hart, at high school. The family then headed over to the local middle school to  surprise Ally's younger sister, Taylor, during a school-wide assembly. If you thought one reunion was moving, wait until you see two in a row!

2. Soldier mom surprises her three sons.

The only thing sweeter than two surprises is three surprises.  

Earlier this month, Sergeant First Class Elizabeth Teasley surprised her three sons after 10 months overseas. News cameras from local Knox County Tennessee station WKRN were on hand to capture the each moving reunion, which left not a dry eye in sight. "I missed their birthdays. I missed so much," Teasley told the station. "Now it's time to make up, so I'm excited to be home and I'm ready for this next chapter."

3. A sister's surprise.

Though parent-child reunions are about as touching as you can get, men and women serving in the armed forces leave siblings, cousins, grandparents, and a myriad of other relatives behind while on active duty. Last week, Airman Baylee Mathews of the United States Air Force was reunited with her younger sister, Tessa Dorski, for the first time since enlisting nearly a year ago.

The impromptu playground reunion led to many tears and plenty of hugs for the bonded pair. "It's so sweet as a mom to see that, the love of the two sisters," the girls' mother, Katie Zernicke, told Wisconsin news station WQOW. "Baylee is Tessa's hero."

4. A wedding day reunion.

The night before Sarah's wedding she cried in her mother's lap because her brother and best friend, who was serving in the Marines, was unable to attend her nuptials. At the last minute, Sarah's brother got approved for a one-day leave and surprised her as she was taking photos in her wedding dress. 

The tears ruined her makeup, but the surprise was well worth it. "This is the best surprise ever," Sarah says through tears. We couldn't agree more!



5. Ellen’s incredible gesture for a military wife.

Just a few days before Christmas in 2013, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres surprised a military wife named Jen Lackey, whose husband, Captain Mike Lackey, had been stationed in Kuwait for nearly a year. Mike wasn't due home until after the holidays, but with a little help from DeGeneres, he surprised his family a bit earlier than expected. DeGeneres had plenty of surprises in store for the Lackeys as well.

6. A reverse surprise.

Soldiers surprising their spouses or other relatives never gets old, but occasionally service men and women are the ones who get surprised when they return home. That was the case with Chris Daugherty, whose wife Natasha concealed their fourth child's impending arrival until Chris returned from South Korea. See Chris' reaction to his growing family below!

7. Man's best friend gets in on the action.

Even though pets can't verbalize it, they're just as overjoyed and surprised when their owners return home from deployments. Take Shadow, the dog in the video below who could hardly contain his excitement when his owner, Staff Sergeant Greg Walk, arrived back home from a year in Afghanistan. 

"It's hard to come by the words," Walk told WGAL after his emotional reunion with Shadow. "The whole time I was gone I just kept saying, 'I can't wait to see my dog.'"



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