Get out your hankies. The naval aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman had been on a 7-month tour of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq when it arrived in Virginia on Monday. The 7,000 sailors on board were greeted by thousands of family members -- including 119 brand-new babies who were meeting their dads for the first time.
The ship’s aircraft elevator opened directly onto the “New Moms Tent,” where a huge cake and two changing stations (wow, just two?) were also on hand.
More than a hundred sailors had only “met” their kiddos via pictures and video. Now they’d get to snuggle up for reals. Now, that’s a Christmas miracle.
Military families know that separation is just part of the deal. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To go from an ultrasound to a 7-month-old baby must be a mind bender. For moms who had to give birth and care for a newborn without their husbands, having dad home must be a huge rush of relief.
The Army has pledged to spend billions to help the families of soldiers stay together during and after the stress of deployment. I don’t know if the Navy is doing the same, but it can’t be easy for these families even though this looks like an amazingly happy day for all.
Earlier this month, 400 soldiers on the same carrier got handwritten Christmas cards from a woman who goes to church with the mom of one of the Truman sailors.
Anyway, peruse this collection of photos if you’re feeling chilly. It’s bound to warm you up. And thanks to all the soldiers and sailors out there, and a big salute to wives and moms shoring up the home front.
Do you have deployed family members or friends this holiday season?
Image via Official U.S. Navy Gallery/Flickr