If You Don’t Have a Tissue Handy, You Should Probably Just Skip This Video

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In these videos you will get to share the powerful moment of ecstatic joy that rushes through family members at the moment that their dad, their husband, their mother or wife, is finally home, out of harm’s way, in their arms. Home! This kind of joy cannot be contained. It can only be expressed by unabashed emotion.

These films and pictures of these homecoming reunions have always been the iconic expression of all that it means to finally have a loved one home from war. They express the joyous release of all the fears and the anxieties that had burdened them over the time that he was “over there.” They embody the realization that he or she is really home and safe. Their ecstatic shouts of joy, their inarticulate screams of delight pull on our emotions too. You can see the love and the inexpressible relief in their eyes.

Every war has witnessed these personal, familial homecoming moments. Let these videos and pictures stand for the power and grace of the most important “welcome home” of all, that is, a soldier’s coming home from war. The warrior’s time in hell is finally over. The danger has passed. For the families, the long time of fear and worry can begin to be put into the past.

Let these images stand as tributes to all those who have gone off to war and for their families who waited at home and endured the empty bed, the fatherless or motherless house, the endless concern and prayers for their loved one. These moments of welcome are priceless. There is something in them that is unique in all the world. When you see a soldier in uniform at the airport, at the mall, in the streets of your hometown shake their hand and say those words that mean so much to them: “Welcome Home. Thank you for your service.”

Thank you to all who have served and to all your families. You have all given more than most of your countrymen in preserving and defending this country’s patrimony of freedom. Blessings on all of you.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.